House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said on Thursday that he is “disappointed” with President Obama as a negotiating partner.
“Mr. President, why have you given up on the country and decided to campaign full-time?” Boehner asked at the Washington Ideas Forum, at the same time that the president was holding his own press conference at the White House.
The speaker said that in a year filled with disappointments, nothing has disappointed him more than watching “the president give up on leading and governing” to “focus on campaigning.”
Working with the president has at times been frustrating, especially in efforts to come up with a “big deal” in budget and deficit negotiations, Boehner said.
“I can tell you I put every ounce of effort that I can to come up with some agreement,” he said. “I could never get the president to the point where he would say yes to real changes in entitlement programs.… It takes two to tango, and the president would never say yes.”
When asked whether part of the difficulty lay in his own troubles in lining up the GOP conference, Boehner admitted that there was something to that.
“When I don’t have 218 frogs in the wheelbarrow, I don’t have the strongest hand that I could have,” he said.
Boehner said he understands that some GOP House members “want more change and they want it faster,” but that Democratic control of the Senate and the White House makes that difficult.
“My job is to move the ball down the field and get things done for the American people,” he said.
This article appears in the October 6, 2011, edition of National Journal Daily PM Update.