Politico – By JAKE SHERMAN
John Boehner thinks President Barack Obama is engaging, smart and brilliant but also remains smarted by the president accusing him of taking taxpayers hostage to secure a tax break for the rich.
In an interview with Leslie Stahl of “60 Minutes” for broadcast Sunday night on CBS, Boehner said Obama showed him “disrespect” by calling him a hostage-taker.
“Excuse me, Mr. President I thought the election was over,” Boehner said, according to a transcript obtained by POLITICO. “You know, you get a lot of that heated rhetoric during an election. But now it’s time to govern.”
The relationship between the president and the incoming House speaker was the focal point of the Sunday night piece, the most recent foray by Boehner into prime-time news.
Their most recent example of working together bore fruits for the GOP. The deal Republicans secured on the Bush-era tax cuts, which also extend unemployment insurance, has the GOP giddy. Boehner said he found “common ground” with Democrats, but said he rejects using the word “compromise.”
Boehner’s kind words about the president also come with a caveat: the two see the world very differently.
“I think he’s engaging,” Boehner said in the taped piece. “Certainly smart. Brilliant. But — you know, we come from different backgrounds. And I think our view of the economy— is also very different.”
Another place they may find common-ground: the golf course. The two are avid players, except Boehner is said to be a prolific golfer, while Obama may be closer to a duffer. The pair have spoken about playing golf several times, but it has never happened. The Ohio Republican is holding out hope.
“Listen, playing golf with someone is a great way to get to know someone,” Boehner said. “You start trying to hit that little white ball, you can’t be somebody that you’re not, because all of you shows up.”
The Hill – By Bridget Johnson
Speaker-to-be John Boehner (R-Ohio) addressed a pressing question in a wide-ranging interview Sunday night on CBS’ “60 Minutes”: his skin color.
President Obama has even joked about the infamously browned Boehner, quipping, “We have a lot in common. He is a person of color — although not a color that appears in the natural world.”
Boehner’s wife, Debbie, said on the program that he’s been dark even before their 37-year marriage began.
“Listen, I’ve never been in a tanning salon in my life,” Boehner said. “I’ve never used a tanning product in my life.”
Boehner talked about his skin in a different respect when addressing the jabs between him and Obama, particularly when the president accused the minority leader of holding Americans hostage to secure tax-cut extensions for the upper income brackets.
“I’ve got thick skin,” Boehner said. “And a lot of words get said here in Washington. You just have to let ’em run off your back. The president was having a tough day.”
…The question is, such unprecedented and unhappy circumstances aside, does Boehner aspire to mark American history as more than an answer to a trivia question, more than did Carl Albert and John McCormick, Dennis Hastert, Jim Wright or Tom Foley? If Boehner does, this will be the week that he starts out on that path.
Boehner is a tough, wily and underestimated son of Ohio, one of 12 children, a product of Catholic schools, a Bishop Moeller Crusader through and through.
He is said to be loyal to his friends and to the traditions of the House, and last week he promoted three long-serving Republicans to the leadership of three committees where various sets of reformers had hoped to see new faces for a new era.
Tea Party activists are outraged and, worse by far, the Pledge to America that Boehner and his colleagues promulgated on a House Web site as binding on the Republicans of the current House seems to be in shreds because of the “tax deal” that turned into a Christmas tree with ethanol and windmills under its branches.
Now Boehner faces a choice. He can in good conscience declare that the deal he agreed to has been buried under a mountain of pork and that, upon further reflection, he ought not to have gone along with it in the first place because of the explicit, specific provisions in the Pledge to America he captained and is now in a position to advance.
Boehner can make a stand as memorable as the one he took on Feb. 13, 2009, when he dropped 1,100 pages of an unread stimulus bill on the floor of the House and denounced the process that produced in near-secrecy such a deficit-driving monster.
There are enormous risks to that course. Markets could be unsettled and even sell off for a few days. The president will denounce Boehner as untrustworthy, and the Washington Post, the New York Times and Politico will repeat the charge without examination of the White House’s capitulation to the spending frenzy demanded by Democrats as an additional bit of blackmail necessary to prevent the biggest tax increase in history.
The replacement legislation in the new Congress might take weeks to forge though the 23 Democratic senators facing re-election in 22 months will not block for long the tax relief that the president and his senior advisers have all admitted is crucial to the nation’s economic growth.
Boehner can choose this week to reaffirm what he and the GOP leadership have said over and over again for the past two years: We cannot stay on this path. The new speaker can, with the country’s attention fixed on him, use that moment to warn the country that the fiscal cliff is real and that we are at its edge, perilously close to taking a turn marked Greece and Ireland.
If John Boehner does the right thing this week, a speakership not yet begun will already have made a profound mark on American history…