House Speaker John Boehner Keeps His Distance From President Obama
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) doesn't subscribe to that philosophy. He's keeping as much distance as possible between himself and President Obama, declining two invitations in the past week.
Boehner decided not to attend Wednesday's memorial service in Tucson, passing up a seat on Air Force One with Obama. The Speaker was already booked at a reception for Republican National Committee chair candidate Maria Cino:
"Senior Democrats - who to date had been impressed with Boehner’s response to the Arizona tragedy - expressed surprise at what they saw as an unmistakable misstep by the new speaker: appearing at a partisan political event on the same night."
Now, Boehner will stay away from a White House state dinner this Wednesday honoring Chinese President Hu Jintao. Politico reports: "Boehner also turned down invitations to the previous two state dinners held during Obama’s presidency, one honoring Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in November 2009, and the most recent state dinner honoring Mexican President Felipe Calderon in May 2010."
Boehner may be sending the message that he is not at Obama's beck and call, and has his hands full with the Republican agenda. He was quoted Saturday criticizing Obama for a "job-destroying spending spree," and has maintained a frosty demeanor toward the President since the November midterm elections.
House Republicans were thrown off course after the shooting in Tucson, which inspired a dialing down of political rhetoric and slowed GOP momentum just as the new term was beginning:
"There’s a clear recognition that the rhetorical atmosphere must be different now than the day that John Boehner (R-Ohio) triumphantly grabbed the speaker’s gavel."
Obama delivered what most observers have judged a pitch-perfect eulogy for the Tucson victims, while Boehner elected to address the tragedy from the House floor Wednesday morning.
Much has been made about the relationship between the two men, who have very little history together. No one will be mistaking them for buddies anytime soon.