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. Nathadz


    July 20, 2012 04:25 am at 4:25 am |
  2. RB

    Isn't it the President's job to define his vision to the American people (which he has) and give Congress direction to implement his vision in a bipartisan approach (which he has). It is then the Speaker of the House;s role to lead the House and get the job done and the Senate Majority's leaders job to lead the Senate to het the job done. Now, the Senate could accomplish the job if they go back to a majority rule instead of the super majority rule. So that leaves me to ask, who isn't doing their job of leading Mr Boehner?

    July 20, 2012 04:31 am at 4:31 am |
  3. RB

    To add to my above comment, we elected President Obama because of his vision he layed out for the country. So let's implement his vision and give it a try before we call it a failure. Four more years, Obama 2012

    July 20, 2012 04:34 am at 4:34 am |
  4. Name123 nolan

    Mr speaker why u haten?

    July 20, 2012 04:41 am at 4:41 am |
  5. Iamnotfooled

    The American Jobs Act-employ 1.9 million people-–filibustered by GOP
    Small business Jobs and Tax Relief Act -- employ 1 million people--filibustered by GOP 7-13-12
    Bring Home Jobs Act--blocked by GOP 7-19-12 Countless Jobs would open up
    These are all Job plans that President Obama has been working on and approves.

    Boehner-–Shame on You! GOP--are definitely not Job Creators -they are Job Killers.

    July 20, 2012 05:02 am at 5:02 am |
  6. Iamnotfooled

    Boehner and Cantor have to go! 9% approval rating. Who is the 9%? Must be immediate family members.

    July 20, 2012 05:04 am at 5:04 am |
  7. Bjada

    If America was a country where the per capita income was above 250k, then would the republican way of governance gain popularity. The "bummer" for republicans is the fact that the most of the electorate is middle class or lower. So, their problem is to convince the less fortunate to vote against their own will and benefit. They can't do it, without either lying or hiding the purpose of small government and less taxes behind religion, gun control, social conservatism etc. But, we all know, bullsheet can only carry you so far towards the top, but can never keep you there. Mitt Romney, JB, and the republican argument is against the voice and interest of the majority and over course of time doomed to failure. If this party doesn't pull itself out of the paws of the far right, then American democracy will be void of a strong opposition, which is crucial to the survival of democracy itself.

    July 20, 2012 05:25 am at 5:25 am |
  8. Dave

    John Boehner, the worst, most ineffective house speaker in the entire history of our country.

    July 20, 2012 05:42 am at 5:42 am |
  9. Chandra

    John Boehner and Republicans checked out in January 2009 pledging to defeat President Obama by obstructing every measure and every initiative.

    July 20, 2012 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  10. justinnn

    I feel that most of these comments are pretty valid and humorous. I definitely plan on voting for Obama this year, as the Republicans have been liberally conservative to the point of blatent denial of reality; not only have they proven to be prejudice and partake in biggotry from some loosely based religious backings, but they have failed to initiate progessive thinking amidst the age of technology. Thankfully through media, I never thought i would say that, we are able to see just how scandalous and uncouth these people really are. ;] So vote! :p

    July 20, 2012 06:14 am at 6:14 am |
  11. Anthony

    These guys are so dumb. They just shot down a bill that would've created millions of jobs. We now know the reason why Obama's economic polices have failed.

    July 20, 2012 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  12. LakeRat1

    The only jobs that the GOP will increase are NUT JOBs !!!

    July 20, 2012 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  13. Harvey

    Didnt the GOP just strike down a jobs bill that would tax outsourcing and bring back jobs? These guys have no shame to blatantly lie on national television..

    July 20, 2012 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  14. G Foster

    Boehner comes off as an angry white dude every time I see him interviewed. Republicans HATE having to answer questions.

    July 20, 2012 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  15. Name Byron

    Voters are not stupid....We don't forget the past.....Some things can't be diverted. OBAMA/BIDEN 2012!!!!!

    July 20, 2012 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  16. Robert

    Boehner is a bleary-eyed falling down drunk who needs to check in to the Betty Ford Clinic. Having said that, I do believe that Obama is the worst President we have had since Warren G. Harding. He needs to be sent back to Chicago where he did nothing either.

    July 20, 2012 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  17. don

    Let's list Boener's acconplishments as speaker:
    I'm done

    July 20, 2012 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  18. NameLib hater

    ABO anybody but Obama wake up people

    July 20, 2012 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  19. mike

    Typical liberals. You cry for fairness and civility but in reality are the most disgusting, vile hateful people on the planet.
    Have any of you ever stopped to look into Boehner's life story? He has more integrity, backbone and resolve than your "campaigner in chief" could ever wish to have.

    July 20, 2012 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  20. albert

    "he generally doesn't "spend a lot of time talking" to Romney in the first place". That line speaks volumes.

    July 20, 2012 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  21. 4merRepubCT

    Romney's 2010 tax release wasn't even complete. Apparently he's got a lot to hide.

    Repubs don't want U.S. jobs – voted against the job creators again. RepubLIEcans are traitors.

    July 20, 2012 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  22. mike

    In2010 we sent a message to this president and the Dems. Since then all the legislation obama proposed was designed with points he new republicans would not accept. He lays out his narrative before Reid puts forward obamaa plan,then republicans vote against it, then the Dems and the liberal in the tank media says see we told u so. They do this till Nov of 2012 and people who don't follow politics believe it. Wake up America Obama is in it for himself.

    July 20, 2012 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  23. clarke

    This is getting so old. They are so focused on Obama they have forgotten what their job is. I will never vote GOP again. I find it all very shameful.

    July 20, 2012 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  24. Adventure49

    Rep. Boehner and the rest of the GOP want President Obama to go down to the White House bomb shelter, to lock the door, turn out the lights, and to sit there quietly awaiting armagedon. I favor the another approach, "Give them hell, Barrack."

    July 20, 2012 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  25. jesse james. take them to street and shoot them like the dogs they are

    @cry babies. It seems that you are the one that is doing the crying.

    July 20, 2012 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
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