Obama Heaps Praise on Boehner: ‘He Is a Patriot'

Melanie Arter | September 25, 2015 | 1:35pm EDT
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President Barack Obama (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – In a White House Rose Garden news conference alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping, President Barack Obama praised outgoing House Speaker John Boehner as “a good man” and “patriot,” who “cares deeply about the House” and America.

“I just heard the news as I was coming out of the meeting here, so it took me by surprise, and I took the time prior to this press conference to call John directly and talk to him. John Boehner’s a good man. He is a patriot. He cares deeply about the House, an institution in which he’s served for a long time. He cares about his constituents, and he cares about America,” said Obama.


Boehner formally announced his resignation shortly after the president’s remarks, saying, he had planned on stepping down at the end of the year and then decided to move it up to his birthday in November, but he decided officially to resign last night after saying his prayers. Boehner will not only step down from his leadership post – he will also resign from Congress.

Obama said he and Boehner “have obviously had a lot of disagreements, and politically, we’re at different ends of the spectrum.” However, Boehner “has always conducted himself with courtesy and civility with me.”

He has kept his word when he made a commitment. He is somebody who has been gracious, and I think maybe most importantly, he’s somebody who understands that in government, in governance, He has kept his word when he made a commitment,” said Obama.

“He is somebody who has been gracious, and I think maybe most importantly, he’s somebody who understands that in government, in governance, you don’t get 100% of what you want, but you have to work with people who you disagree with, sometimes strongly, in order to do the people’s business,” the president said.

While Obama said he wouldn’t “prejudge” Boehner’s successor in the speaker position, the president said he hopes “there’s a recognition on the part of the next speaker – something I think John understood even though at times it was challenging to bring his caucus along - that we can have significant differences on issues, but that doesn’t mean you shut down the government.”

“That doesn’t mean you risk the full faith and credit of the United States. You don’t invite potential financial crises. You build roads and pass transportation bills, and you do the basic work of governance that ensures that our military’s operating and that our national parks are open and that our kids are learning. And there’s no weakness in that. That’s what government is in our democracy,” said Obama.

“You don’t get what you want 100% of the time, and so sometimes you take half a loaf, sometimes you take a quarter loaf, and that’s something certainly that I’ve learned here in this office,” he added.

Obama said he’s looking forward to working with the next speaker and would reach out immediately to whoever that is “to see what his or her ideas are and how we can make progress on the important issues that America faces.”

In the meantime, Boehner has another 30 days, “so hopefully, he feels like getting as much stuff done as he possibly can, and I’ll certainly be looking forward to working with him on that,” Obama added.

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