Obama vs Boehner: Five Moments When They Squared Off
Highlights (and low lights) of their many squabbles.
The war of words between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner has rarely ceased since Obama assumed the presidency. Each tries to paint the other as the root cause of a leadership deficit in Washington.
Truthfully, Americans are fed up of partisan bickering. And they’ve said as much in recent polling. Neither the President nor the Speaker comes out of a mudslinging fest looking like a grown-up. But when you rank the substance of these spats, Boehner and his Tea Party-controlled Republican caucus look worse for the wear than Obama and the Democrats.
When leaders of the Republican Party openly state passionate desire to see Obama fail (and American citizens suffer as a result), there isn’t much room to let cooler heads prevail in disagreements.
Here’s a list of the most pronounced squabbling between the House of Representatives and the White House:
1. Dueling rhetoric in stimulus debate
President Obama’s stimulus didn’t do all it promised to do. That’s a reality that the White House and Democrats will find hard to debate. There’s little doubt that Boehner pounced and won the messaging war on the stimulus.
2. The Ryan budget proposal
Debate over Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, billed as “The Path to Prosperity,” got heated in April. The bright-eye congressman put forth a plan that made Draconian cuts to the nation’s coveted medical and retirement programs. It died in the Senate, right after President Obama made statements playing up the negative impacts it would have on senior citizens and future retirees. Without having to speak Boehner or Paul’s name, Obama won the round.
3. Looming government shutdown and credit downgrade
In August, credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded the country’s credit score, following a bitter battle in Congress over how to address the nation’s ballooning deficit. With disapproving eyes, Obama chided the Republicans for playing an obstructionist role in the debt negotiations. Although the failure was that of the entire federal government, polling suggested Obama succeeded in tying the downgrade to the Republicans.
4. Conflict between jobs speech and GOP candidates’ debate
Despite White House spokesman Jay Carney’s insisting the Republicans were overplaying the issue, the Obama administration gave in during a conflict between a scheduled presidential address and a GOP candidates debate. Speaker Boehner and other Republicans asked the president to move his address one day forward. The Republicans won this one, considering what the president had to say was much more important than hearing Herman Cain scream “9-9-9” for two hours.
5. Extending payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits
President Obama took Speaker Boehner down a few notches by decrying his failed leadership in the December 2011 payroll tax cut debate. Most political analysts and pundits agreed Boehner lost big, as he appeared to be the only thing standing between middle class Americans and an extra $1,000 in their pockets come 2012.