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. mm

    No, Mr. Boehner. We fully realize it is you and the Republicans in Congress who haven't done one thing for the people in 4 years time...while Obama worked to recover our economy from the REPUBLICAN economic collapse of '08....when millions of the middle class lost their jobs.

    July 20, 2012 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  2. It's Me

    I didn't know he ever checked-in.

    July 20, 2012 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  3. mattski

    Hey Boehner your HR has an approval rating of 19 percent. That's lower than Nixon's when he was being IMPEACHED! Whatever you say, I would believe the opposite.

    July 20, 2012 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  4. Captain America

    No Bonehead. Checking out is the GOP voting down a jobs bill giving companies that insurance a 20% tax cut. Repblicans have been doing everything in their power to trash the economy to win the election and the voters need to punish them very, very severely.

    July 20, 2012 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  5. SafeJourney

    Again, the repubs block an insourcing jobs bill. People of America, please, please, please vote these teapublicans out of office before they completely destroy our great country.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    July 20, 2012 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  6. David Andrade

    Somebody should punch Boehner in his face.... GOP is a disgrace to this country...

    July 20, 2012 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  7. jesse james. take them to street and shoot them like the dogs they are

    You did not cry. This is a good reason to cry for joy. Come on man. Release the taxes.

    July 20, 2012 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  8. SOS

    Obama is the biggest POS known! If you own a business or had a little bit of common sense u would know that he is going to ruin this country more than he already has. He gets elected again say good buy to your small businesses!

    July 20, 2012 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  9. mogran

    I agree with him...Obama spends, spends, spends money we don't have and then spins, spins, spins.

    July 20, 2012 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  10. J

    Boehner is right on about the President. Obama has just wanted to be called President and not really accept any responsibility and accountable that goes along with that role. He wants to be the Hollywood President.

    July 20, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  11. Republicans can buy votes

    Johnny crying orange man is a joke... Please pipe down as your congress of no is the problem. You just voted against surprize suprize the take back jobs to America bill. Your party does nothing but whine and whine and not assist. Your party only votes for kickbacks and tax cuts for the wealthy. We get it John Boehner you hate non wealthy. Get over youself and continue to take your kickbacks from lobbyist and super pacs.

    You need to be voted out of office Career politician problem.....

    July 20, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  12. Republicans can buy votes

    Johny Orange Crying man is on the take and part of the party of no......

    July 20, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  13. Jake

    Go back to your spa and tanning booth in the basement of Congress that taxpayers pay for. Give up your luxeries and life of oppulance before telling anybody what is best for them. We think it's BEST for you to go away and take all the money you acquired from selling America away. You Orange POS.

    July 20, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  14. Republicans

    The leader of the party of no!

    July 20, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  15. Namechuck

    Boehner appear to a drunk with his behavior also with his remarks to every situation he has a real problem he need god in life!!!

    July 20, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  16. Jake

    Pass the tissue, the Orange Man is about to cry again. Always crying after stuffing himself with booze. Drunk.

    July 20, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  17. Thomas

    We need a 34th attempt to repeal the ACA! Jobs bill? Who cares about that??

    July 20, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  18. mikey

    Those that still support this "inover his head" president are probably sitting on their butts, watching opie winfrey, waiting for the free cheese check to arrive.

    July 20, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  19. Purple Candy

    I won't resort to name calling, but will quote John McCain! We just have FUNdaMENTAL differences about what to do. I believe since we allowed the republicans 8 years to jack it up, give the democrats 8 years to fix it. But I think we already know that trickle down economy does not work! Stop arguing, release your tax records or don't! Pick a vp and let's vote! I think you will be surprised that polling 1000 people does not give a statistically accurate account of how the rest of us feel! Just vote! I am! Obama/Biden 2012!

    July 20, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  20. Jules

    Boehner never checked in as Speaker, he has been a puppet of the right wingers of the party. No leadership there. As for President Obama checking out – I don't think so – seems to me he has been pretty active on all fronts. Just because the House with its GOP majority says no to everything doesn't mean the President has checked out. It means the GOP has been doing their level best to block him from making any advancement in creating jobs. More jobs would not be good for their plan to defeat him in November. It the unemployment rate goes down, the GOP loses so instead of putting Americans first, they are putting Republicans first.

    July 20, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  21. Jules

    Crybabies, Romney is running for president because he thinks that he can get by without releasing his tax returns at all, because the top 1% play by a different set of rules than everyone else. Maybe he didn't do anything illegal, but we don't know that. What I suspect is that some years he made millions but paid very little or no taxes on it. We don't know if he paid taxes on money made in the US before it was put into tax havens and offshore accounts. Americans have a right to that information before they make a decision who to vote for.

    July 20, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  22. John

    I could care less what Romney did with *his* money. I care what the President has done with *my* money- wasted it. Over and over. Every so-called "jobs" bill gives (the President's chosen group) federal money- but ask where that comes from. To give $100 to someone for a "jobs" bill, the federal govt has to take $200 from somewhere else (half is wasted in the bureaucracy of getting the cash from a to b). Every new federal program ("Shovel-ready jobs," anyone?) hurts because it takes more from the economy than it puts back in.

    July 20, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  23. wade

    Obama has never checked in! LOL He is the worst thing to have ever happened to America. He is in fact the number one reason that the economy is not recovering. The dems have blocked 22 REAL JOBS bills that the GOP have passed and a budget yet they claim this SPENDIGNG BILL is a jobs bill. We all know that the LIES from the proven lie master Obama are just that LIES.

    July 20, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  24. Bobby Dias

    Dictator Obama has "checked out" of reality.

    July 20, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  25. NamePat

    The GOP, by their own actions, clearly show that their priorities are protecting BIG BUSINESS and the uber-rich. The GOP are the ones who don't give a damn about the middle class and job creation. As for Mitt Romney, he disgusts me and I predict he will lose by a landslide.

    July 20, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
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