Boehner blasts Obama, weighs in on veepstakes
July 19th, 2012
04:17 PM ET
10 years ago

Boehner blasts Obama, weighs in on veepstakes

(CNN) - House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday stood by his argument that President Barack Obama doesn't give a "damn" about unemployed, middle class Americans, saying Obama has been more focused on his role as candidate than president.

"The president checked out last Labor Day. And he's been on the campaign trail nonstop ever since," Boehner said on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

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Boehner told reporters on Capitol Hill the day prior that the president was attempting to divert attention from the economy in order to win re-election and "doesn't give a damn about the middle class Americans who are out there looking for work."

In a sit-down interview on Thursday, Boehner defended his comments and blasted the president's re-election campaign over its recent tactics.

"When you look at some of the nonsense that's gone on in the campaign here over the last couple of weeks, you begin to scratch your head," he said. "Somebody has got to speak English. And I'm not afraid to do it."

The Obama team has been spearheading a round of calls for Romney to release more tax returns than the two years' worth of information he has already made public. They argue the documents would answer questions about his offshore accounts and overseas investments.

Despite pressure from Democrats–and some Republicans-Romney has said the release of his tax returns will be sufficient with his 2010 return and his completed 2011 return to come out in October at the extended filing deadline.

Boehner, however, said he won't be joining the few from his party who are urging Romney to put forward more documents.

"I think it's a sideshow. He released his returns from 2010. He's going to release his returns from 2011. I think that's more than enough," the speaker said.

Answering questions about the increasing attention over Romney's running mate pick, Boehner said he has not been in contact with Romney about the presumptive GOP nominee's decision.

"He's got to keep this in a very closed circle. And I don't expect to be consulted. I don't need to be consulted," he said, adding that he generally doesn't "spend a lot of time talking" to Romney in the first place.

The speaker has faced criticism for his less-than-glowing praise for Romney since he became the presumptive GOP nominee. Boehner said last month that the "American people probably aren't going to fall in love" with Romney.

Defending his comments, Boehner said Thursday that he is, in fact, enthusiastic about the former Massachusetts governor but views the election more as a referendum on what he called Obama's "failed economic policies" than a choice between Romney and the incumbent.

"As a result, the American people, I think, will vote with their wallets," he said. "And I think Mitt Romney is going to win this election."

In the wide-ranging interview, Boehner also indicated he would stand firm in his commitment against passing the president's proposal to end the Bush-era tax cuts for households making more than $250,000 a year.

Both parties agree the tax breaks should be renewed for the 98% of those who fall under the threshold. With that in mind, the president has argued Congress should go ahead and pass the extension for that 98%, then debate about the remaining two percent later on.

Boehner, however, said the top two percent includes many small business owners, and argued it would be a "monumental mistake" for the still struggling economy to project a tax hike on those who fall in the bracket.

"What I'm trying to do is to protect all Americans and keep our focus on what the American people want us focused on, and that's the economy and jobs," the speaker said. "And if we're serious about getting the economy going and creating jobs, we need to extend all the current tax rates."

Pressed on whether he would be willing to pass a bill for the 98% now, then later work on a deal for the remainder, Boehner said: "It would be the wrong thing for the country to do."

The House speaker also commented on recent calls from Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota–and four other GOP members of Congress–for investigations of Islamic extremist infiltration in the federal government. They particularly target Huma Abedin, deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying she has family members tied to the "Muslim Brotherhood."

Boehner reiterated his defense of Abedin and said she has "sterling character." Describing the accusations as "dangerous," Boehner said he has not yet talked to Bachmann but added someone should "put out the facts."

"Frankly, there are enough legitimate issues that we need to work with here in town, here in Washington, that I just am very concerned about the direction that this thing takes," he said.

- CNN Senior Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.

Watch The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer weekdays at 4pm to 6pm ET and Saturdays at 6pm ET. For the latest from The Situation Room click here.

Filed under: 2012 • John Boehner • Mitt Romney • President Obama • TV-The Situation Room
soundoff (176 Responses)
  1. lakotabeauty

    Lol.. this guy dont make sense why do these guys always gotta be against obama is that because they aint got ne thing better to do but waste their time..

    July 19, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  2. Obzerur

    As a sign of good faith, I think Nancy Pelosi should submit hers first.

    July 19, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  3. jimbojoker

    The Republicans hate The President more than they love America

    July 20, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  4. Harry From Pa

    And what have the GOP been doing? Oh that's right, the party of NO, the ones that said they will do whatever it takes to make sure he doesn't get re-elected. I think I am going to go and donate more to Obama/BIden right now.

    July 20, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  5. scott


    Well its good you think Mitts on the straight and narrow...apparently Mitt doesnt think he is.

    Anybody but Mittans {except for Bachman,Paul,Newt,Ahhh I forget his name, and Pawlenty}

    OBAMA 2012!!!!!!

    July 20, 2012 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  6. Bushy Mustache

    Just like the tru Republican hack you are....Boehner you make me sick. The President has a jobs bill before you but you wont work on it because you dont want to get the POTUS ANY credit for helping the economy. The only good republican is a dead republican. I hope you all get old and die soon. you are worthless.

    July 20, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  7. Anyone but Obama

    Lazy, unemployed Dems actually believe life is better now than 4 yrs ago, what a shame. Obama is putting too much power in government! Go out and work, stop expecting the government to pay for everything and earn a living like Americans have for over 200 years. If you want free everything move to Canada!

    July 20, 2012 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  8. canchange

    Hello.Mitt Romney/ vp John Boehner 2012.The United States Of America is a great country and the founding fathers wating for Americans to wakeup 2012.Without this country the planet earth is nothing,why this is hapenning: the fouding fathers calling you to fight for them because you are the one alive.thanks.

    July 20, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  9. T

    John Boehner has seen the light. He thinks it is heaven sent. It's actually the tanning bed light, and it has blinded him from seeing the truth.

    July 20, 2012 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  10. Anonymous

    Why do Democrats/Obama supporters spend all their time bashing everybody??? I guess they are following in Obama's lead. No real ideals, just hatred for everyone....I just hope that Obama supporters take off their blinders and vote for a real leader this time! I have voted Democrat in the past, but I am smart enough not to this election!!

    July 20, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  11. bewhiskered

    The GOP/Baggers (KKK) are in complete frustration
    Mitt's taxes still remain in total obfuscation
    Bain Capital, off shore accounts
    Outsourcing jobs, his trouble mounts
    It must be a living hell being in such desperation.

    July 20, 2012 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  12. maltytasker

    Crybabies: " I'm sure Romney is on the straight and narrow. Why would he not be when running for President?"

    Are you serious? Where have you been for the last 200 some years? Romney is no different from any other politician, and has shown that he is worse than most. He lies about something everyday. What does that say about his moral character?

    July 20, 2012 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  13. nolimits3333

    The do nothing Republicans are the one's who have checked out.

    Except for passing anti women's choice bills!

    July 20, 2012 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  14. J.V.Hodgson

    @cry babies. I am proud to join the Sniffits et al that you deride. Rangels taxes were thoroughly investigated ( he just got re-elected, right or wrong; talk to the people workers and voters there if you must).
    No one is criticising Romneys accountants and I would humbly suggest that if they did such a good job then Romney has nothing to hide ( he's just a sucessful high earning entrepreneur revered by all us American dream supporters) so publish and be damned ( or not).
    The economy and Jobs "pitiful"!? Pure rhetoric and not a single reasonable fact to justify the adjective.Now let me see all this thinking makes my head hurt:-
    1) In a deep deep recession 0bama has created 4m plus jobs...Bush II in 8 years 2m plus and 5m lost August 2007 to March 2008. And many more after that.
    2) Every jobs proposal by Obama and administration effectively filibustered or filibustered by trying to tag PPACA amendments as the Pay for demand re deficit. debt.
    3) AJA the best of all per CBO. Deficit debt neutral, 1m to 1.6m jobs unemployment reduction, and GDP positive!! OOoops no can do a) it just might help the economy and get Obama re-elected against out basic policy ( Obam one term president) never mind all Americans b) sin of sins we break our pledge to a PAC leader Grover Norquist. Again never mind whats good for the American people, well just 98% of them but they dont matter.
    Fact please @ cry babies not just rhetoric and details/ independent evaluations on how Romneys rhetoric not detailed plans are better for Us americansand righ now I am more concerned about helping the 98 % even if it coat the 2% a bit for the time being.

    July 20, 2012 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  15. Donkey Party

    I pray everyday (for a civil war) so extreme ignorance (conservatism) can be eradicated once and for all. There is no room in society for idiot sociopaths like Ancient Texan, CryBabies, and Some libtard from NH. Pack your sunscreen sissies, it's hot where your miserable souls are heading.

    July 20, 2012 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  16. indie52

    The worst Speaker of the House with the lowest ratings in US history is giving advice. My gardener also gives advice..

    July 20, 2012 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  17. AnnieR.

    @ Woman in California

    Woman in Montana.
    Obama 2012..........

    July 20, 2012 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  18. Ant

    As Boehner used to say to win 2010 then I will ask him the question; where are the job Mr Boehner?

    July 20, 2012 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  19. Jack Be Humble

    I have been impressed lately by Speaker Boener ... some bipartisan bills have been working their way through the House, in a form that the Senate can pass and the President can sign, to make things better for this country. That being said, i believe more needs to be done before the elections to prevent the economy from getting worse. I hope a desire to see President Obama fail won't override the Republican leadership in both houses from doing what NEEDS to be done.

    July 20, 2012 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  20. Jr.

    Far this man too call himself the speaker of the house and disrespect the office of President no matter who s holden it. Shows he is a idiot and a fool. Who elected this nut job speaker? The Republican are a bounce old white foolish rich men who think their money can buy them anything but not the American Peoples. OB 2012..... Come on American lets show these idiots we re not standing 4 it...!! Jerks

    July 20, 2012 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  21. Làns danga

    JB... grow up and be a better leader of the people's House. Control your TP members to put politics aside and work with the president to create jobs for the people that sent u all to Congress and paying you with tax dollars. Why do you really want to hold hostage 98% of us all in the interest of the 2% rich folks that contribute to your campaigns? This is unfair and disgusting. I guess we all have to pay a heavy price in order for you Republicans to complete your numbèr 1 goal of making BO a one term president because he is not a typical fit for the presidency. Grow up!

    July 20, 2012 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  22. CBR

    Mr. Boehner check out long before he became Speaker considering how little hs been done in the past two years.

    July 20, 2012 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  23. Liberal Soldier

    @Crybabies. Your party doesn't care about the economy or jobs.. You are voting for Romney who will off-shore more jobs than create here. Wake up and realize that politicians will never ever change. Once a vulture always a vulture. I'd rather side with someone who can identify with the average American than some rich sociopath who hasn't given a damn about American jobs for over 20 years. Living the American dream by buying companies out so the rich get richer and then gutting them for personal profit whilst leaving thousands without jobs.. Not my idea of a President.

    July 20, 2012 03:45 am at 3:45 am |
  24. s

    Tan Man you never check In, such a looser and time to go to retirement in the tanning bed

    July 20, 2012 04:02 am at 4:02 am |
  25. john5021

    The speaker keeps forgeting that it's his own party that fights to keep jobs from happening. They have blocked any and everything that would have helped this wonderful nation of ours. Talk about the real terrorists–they are it. We don't need no stinking terrorist–we have our own–GOP.

    July 20, 2012 04:10 am at 4:10 am |
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