House GOP leader John Boehner
HH: Real treat now, the leader of the Republicans in the House of Representatives, and the next Speaker of the United States House of Representatives if all goes well in November, John Boehner. Leader Boehner, you picked a great day to come on, because we’ve got news coming out left and right. I do want to talk to you about America Speaking Out, though. Tell people about that.
JB: Well, listen, Americans are fed up with Washington. They’ve been speaking, but Washington hasn’t been listening. I mean, look at all the taxes, all the spending, all the debt, it’s clear that Washington’s been doing what’s best for Washington, not what’s best for America. And at www.americaspeakingout.com, we’re going to give the American people a voice in creating a new governing agenda for Congress. As Republicans, we know our principles. And we’re going to use them to build a new governing agenda that’s rooted in our principles of a smaller, more accountable, and less costly government.
HH: www.americaspeakingout.com launched today, getting big traffic. You should check it out, America. They can talk about a number of things. Let me ask you a couple of things, Leader Boehner. Today, seven Senators on the Judiciary Committee in the United States Senate called for a special prosecutor, echoing a request of Darrell Issa from my neck of the woods, to the Department of Justice to investigate Congressman Sestak’s allegation of a job offer. What do you think about the need for a special prosecutor?
JB: Well, I think that the White House needs to come clean, and Joe Sestak needs to come clean. And if they want to have the special prosecutor, fine, let’s get it done. But I don’t know why these people just can’t tell us the truth of what happened. You know, these are some serious allegations that someone inside the White House offered him a job, to facilitate his withdrawal from the Pennsylvania primary against Senator Specter. And this is, it’s illegal, it’s inappropriate, and I don’t know why we have to wait on a special counsel. Why won’t they come out and tell us the truth? And I expect that you’ll see another letter from House Republicans tomorrow.
HH: Oh, well that’s very good to know. Now David Axelrod told CNN on the weekend, John King, that the allegations have been looked into, there’s no evidence of such wrongdoing. Are you not put, is your mind not at ease because David Axelrod told us everything’s okay, Leader Boehner?
JB: Ah, Hugh, you know, I told you a long time ago. I’ve got eleven brothers and sisters, and my dad wasn’t far…you know, I can smell B.S. a mile away.
HH: So this keeps up? The drumbeat keeps up until the answers are given?
JB: They’re going to have to come forward with the answers, because this is not going to go away.
HH: Now Leader Boehner, let’s talk about the Gulf. Last night, President Obama flew to San Francisco, actually did a fundraiser at the Getty house, and then went over to the Fairmont Hotel, raised a lot of money for Barbara Boxer, even as the beaches of Louisiana are turning oily black, and even as Governor Jindal’s request for a dredging permit won’t get answered by the federal government. What do you make of the president’s responsibility in this mess?
JB: Well, the law makes it pretty clear that if there’s an oil spill, the president is required to take action. And we’ve got the governor of Louisiana, we’ve got parish presidents of those small communities south of New Orleans asking for help, asking to be allowed to put a sand berm in and other things to protect the marshes, and they can’t get an answer out of the federal government. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that the administration is not fulfilling their responsibility to the people of the Gulf Coast area, or to the people of the United States.
HH: You worked close to President Bush during Katrina, John Boehner. How do you compare President Obama’s response to the Gulf oil spill, to President Bush’s response at Katrina?
JB: Well, we’re talking about the same type of, same type of failure of government. And this is where the problem here in Washington only gets worse, because all my colleagues here, our liberal colleagues, want to keep growing the size of government, think government’s the answer to everything, and yet it’s pretty clear the government’s failed, in this case, the MMS, the Minerals Management Service, just like the government failed in Katrina, just like the government failed in the financial meltdown that occurred a year and a half ago. This is why relying on government is really not the answer for America.
HH: Does the buck stop with President Obama, though, for not getting these berms built?
JB: Well, I think it will, because these parish presidents are still waiting for answers. The administration’s been pressured by members of Congress from both parties to give them an answer, and they’re sitting on their hands, acting like bureaucrats.
HH: I want to ask you about a late-breaking story this afternoon. The feds have issued a terror watch for the Texas-Mexico border, warning Texas authorities that a Somali-based al-Shabab terrorist may be trying to come in over the border. Is that news to you? Was the House briefed about this before it made the news?
JB: I was not briefed, and typically, I would be briefed on these types of announcements. But as porous as the border is, it would not be difficult for them to move someone in here. And I think the president made a gesture in the right direction by directing these new 1,200 troops to the border. I don’t think it’s enough. We have a real crisis there, and it ought to be dealt with as a real crisis.
HH: Now let’s do a little politics, and start in the great Buckeye State, Leader Boehner. Jim Renacci is double digit points ahead of John Bocieri, the back flipper. And down in Cincinnati, the Democrat, Dreihaus, is in real trouble to the former Republican member from there. What do you feel is going on in Ohio that people like Renacci and others are doing so well in the polls so far out?
JB: Well, Hugh, Ohio is the traditional swing state. It’s why people watched it for well over a hundred years. And this year, the pendulum is swinging our way. I think John Kasich has a great chance to be the next governor of Ohio, Rob Portman, the next U.S. Senator from Ohio. And those two at the top of the ticket are going to give us a chance to win at least five seats, five Democrat-held seats in the State of Ohio alone.
HH: And what about your earlier statement that a hundred seats are in play. I didn’t think I heard you saying we’re going to pick up a hundred seats being Republicans. I thought I heard you saying that you’re competitive across the United States. Do you stand by that earlier statement?
JB: I do. I did, I never said we’d win a hundred seats. But there are one hundred seats in play. And even Charlie Cook, the noted political guy here in town, on April 27th, outlined specifically 99 seats that he thought were in play. We are in the middle of a political rebellion. The American people are doing something we haven’t seen since the American Revolution. They’re rising up, and they’re saying Washington, you are going to listen to us. That’s why if you go to www.americaspeakingout.com, Republicans are giving people a place to help us develop the next governing agenda, and we’re going to show the American people that we’re listening to them.
HH: Markets are also listening, Leader Boehner, and they do not like this banking bill, and they do not like Greece, and they do not like debt. And do the Democratic colleagues of yours across the aisle understand that it’s not just car dealers who need relief from this banking bill, it’s consumers who are afraid of this banking bill.
JB: No, Hugh, it’s the same, it’s the same liberal reaction – we need more government. You know, it was government bureaucrats that didn’t uncover this problem. So their answer in this bill happens to be, well, we need to hire more government bureaucrats. We’re going to punish every local banker, every community banker in America for the sins of a handful of big banks on Wall Street. This is the most ill-conceived idea in the world. One of the problems they say is that well, we don’t have, we’ve got gaps in our regulatory process. And we need these regulators working more closely together. What does the bill do? It doesn’t do any of that.
HH: Leader Boehner, we’re out of time. www.americaspeakingout.com is the new website. Thank you, John Boehner.
End of interview.