John Boehner: House speaker, or noisy monkey?

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, shows off one of his favorite office props in a video posted on YouTube. John Boehner via YouTube

Sure, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, holds one of the most powerful jobs in the world, steering the House of Representatives and sitting second in the line of presidential succession.

But when it comes down to it, he says, he's really just a monkey clanging his cymbals together.

In a video posted Thursday on YouTube entitled "The Monkey In the Room," Boehner reflects on one of his favorite office props -- an animatronic stuffed monkey, complete with cymbals and a silly grin.

"This sits in my office on the coffee table, because this is me," he says in the video.

Surrounded by children, who are obviously delighted by the noisy toy, Boehner points to the monkey and exclaims, "That's what I do all day!"

"My staff gave it to me," the speaker says. "Every 15, 30 minutes, they come in and wind me, up, and I do my thing."

The joke began in 2011, after Boehner quipped in an interview that his busy schedule sometimes makes him feel like a wind-up toy. "So, as a light-hearted token of appreciation (and a less-than-subtle reminder to not use that metaphor again), Speaker Boehner's staff brought the monkey to the U.S. Capitol," a blog post on his website explains.

The monkey has been there ever since, bearing witness to the parade of foreign leaders, congressional bigwigs, and others who have found their way to Boehner's office on Capitol Hill.

The toy has become such a fixture in Boehner's office that it even reportedly made its way into an instruction booklet distributed to the speaker's new interns.

"People will often ask about the monkey sitting in the center of the room," says one bullet point in the pamphlet, according to Gawker, which obtained a copy. "Shows his sense of humor," another explains helpfully.

But interning for Boehner isn't just monkeying around, the booklet emphasizes. Among the "rules for intern success" are such gems as "Don't talk to the press," "You are not here to change the world," and "Nothing is below you."

Also: "Have fun."

  • Jake Miller

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