Boehner: Obama "checked out" last Labor Day
(CBS News) "CBS This Morning" co-host Charlie Rose spoke with Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, the Speaker of the House, Tuesday for his first national interview since Mitt Romney became the presumptive GOP nominee.
Boehner endorsed Romney Tuesday saying, he will be "proud to support Mitt Romney and do everything I can to help him win."
Boehner told Rose that Romney "did a good job" in the primary season and he's "prepared for this general election and will appeal to more than half of Americans."
The speaker said he was "not optimistic" that anything would get done between now and the election. "The president checked out last Labor Day. All he's done is campaign full time for the last six months. He's not been engaged in the legislative process at all. There have been no efforts at trying to work with Democrats and Republicans to address this issue at all. And it's, it's shameful."Boehner said he thought this election would be "a referendum on the president's economic policies. They've not only not helped the economy, they've actually made it worse."
A transcript of the conversation is posted below.
Charlie Rose: You endorsed Mitt Romney today. How much damage did the primary campaign do to his-- the election that he faces?
Rep. John Boehner: I don't think it was any real damage done. It got messy. Just like the race four years ago between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. It went on until June of 2008. Charlie, this election's gonna be a referendum on the president's economic policies. They've not only not helped the economy, they've actually made it worse.
Rose: When you look at this election, what's the debate going to be?
Boehner: It's going to be over the president's economic policies, pure and simple. They've made matters worse. America should be doing a lot better today. But when you look at his calls for higher taxes, his refusal to deal with the debt, the regulatory regime here in Washington out of control - they've scared every businessperson and investor in America. That's why you see record amounts of cash in these businesses, in banks, because they don't know what tomorrow's going to look like.
Rose: There is this question. No one, no one doubts that you're not in touch, not only with the constituents you have in Ohio, but generally. You're that kind of guy. Is Mitt Romney that kind of guy? He's had a very different lifestyle from you.
Boehner: Listen, we're all different. You know, we have different personalities.
Rose: Can he be in touch? Does he need to figure out a way to have the same kind of visceral appeal?
Boehner: I think he's done a good job in a Republican primary, under some very difficult circumstances. And I think he's prepared for this general election and will appeal to more than half of Americans.
After any primary, there's always a little retooling. Always some adjustments, in terms of now you have a different opponent. And so I think you'll-- you'll see some new things out of this campaign.
Rose: Like what?
Boehner: A real focus on what the election's gonna be about.
Rose: Well, you know, he spoke--
Boehner: Economics, economics, economics.WATCH "60 Minutes": Rep. Boehner The Next Speaker
Rose: Well, he's pulled back from this. The other day, in a closed meeting, he talked about, perhaps Obama ... I mean HUD as well as Department of Education, and talked about eliminating the mortgage deduction for second homes.
Boehner: Well, there was a lot of things said there. We've got to make choices. And we shouldn't criticize candidates because, because they're talking about the big choices we have to make. When you have a $1.3 trillion budget deficit, you have to do something.
Rose: The president would say to you, if you said that to him, and your friends, "This is going to be a referendum on the Ryan budget. Because the Speaker's even said it's a vision of what we want to do."
Romney: The president's gonna try to make the election about anything other than his failed economic policies. Because he can't run on his record. And so they're gonna - they're gonna pull out every bogeyman they can. The fact is that we've got a serious problem. That's why Republicans have a plan for America's job creators to put Americans back to work.
Rose: Do you think the Ryan plan is a way to do that? Romeny's clearly made it at one with him.
Boehner: Somebody in this town has to own up to the problems that we face. That budget does it. Now if the president doesn't like that budget, where's his budget? His budget failed on the floor of the House, zero to 414. Not one Democrat or one Republican voted for the president's budget. Why? Because he wasn't serious about dealing with America's problems.
Rose: The Catholic bishops today said that, "The Ryan budget fails to meet moral criteria. It disproportionately cuts programs that serve the poor and the vulnerable," which it sounds like the president.
Boehner: I understand. But listen, when you look at the budget choices that we have to make it's time that Congress and Washington and the president to quit kicking the can down the road and address our challenges. I don't believe that our budget will hurt the poor in any way. I don't think it will hurt the safety net in any way. But we can't continue to spend money that we do not have.
Rose: Why cannot two people, who are friends, come to some understanding on this grand bargain and make it happen because of the American people want it to happen?
Boehner: I sat for months with the president. He wanted revenue. I said, "Mr. President, I'll put revenue on the table that we can achieve out of fixing our tax code. But the only way I'll do it is if you're willing -- to have real, fundamental reform of our entitlement programs." And the fact is we have an agreement. And then two days later, the president decided he wanted $400 billion of more revenue, which was, in effect, a $400 billion tax increase.
Rose: Yet, at the same time, the two of you came to an agreement, in your mind, that was acceptable.
Boehner: Until he lost his courage.
Rose: Lost his courage?
Boehner: He lost his courage.
Rose: He couldn't face what?
Boehner: Why did he blow the deal up?
Rose: What did he tell you?
Boehner: That he needed more revenue, needed more revenue. He lost his courage.
Rose: Will anything happen between now and the election?
Boehner: I would hope so. But I'm, but I am not optimistic. The president checked out last Labor Day. All he's done is campaign full time for the last six months. He's not been engaged in the legislative process at all. There have been no efforts at trying to work with Democrats and Republicans to address this issue at all. And it's, it's shameful.
Rose: If he's able to change the emphasis to the future or to the Ryan plan or to Governor Romney--
Boehner: The American people--
Rose: If he prevents it from being a referendum--
Boehner: The American people vote with their wallets. They have for the history of our country. And it's not gonna change.
Rose: Sounds like Ohio wisdom to me.
Boehner: A bit.
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