Meet The Next House Speaker, Rep. John Boehner

Lesley Stahl Profiles The Ohio Republican Who Will Be Third In Line For The Presidency

John Boehner is about to replace Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House, and become the most powerful Republican in the country - and third in line to the presidency. He was swept in with the biggest Republican landslide in the house since 1938.

As "60 Minutes" and correspondent Lesley Stahl set off to meet him, we had two questions: Which John Boehner will show up as speaker? The compromiser that he's been in the past, or the more hard-line conservative of late, who's aligned himself with the Tea Party that helped bring him and his party back into power.

And what kind of a relationship will he develop with Mr. Obama?

We met at the Capitol the day after the president announced the new tax deal. When Stahl asked him about the president, he dwelt on their differences.

Lesley Stahl: What do you think of him?

Rep. John Boehner: I think he's engaging. Certainly smart. Brilliant. But, you know, we come from different backgrounds. And I think our view of the economy is also very different.



John Boehner: Real Men Do Cry
When it comes to politics, incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner is as tough as they come. But he showed a different side to Lesley Stahl on "60 Minutes" - and Boehner's not the first politician who has shed a tear in front of the cameras.


Full Segment: The Next Speaker
Extra: Boehner and the Tea Party
Extra: Boehner on Tax Deal
Extra: Boehner Back Home
Extra: The Boehners' Love Story

That's for sure: Stahl asked him about the president saying that the Republicans are holding the American people hostage to get tax cuts for the wealthy.

Stahl: He basically called you a hostage-taker.

Boehner: Excuse me, Mr. President. I thought the election was over. You know, you get a lot of that heated rhetoric during an election. But now it's time to govern.

Stahl: Do you think that his tone will make it more difficult for you to come together as we move forward on issues? Or are you just flicking it off?

Boehner: I listen. I've got thick skin. And a lot of words get said here in Washington. You just have to let 'em run off your back. The president was having a tough day.

Stahl: You're so understanding.

Boehner: I have a tough day from time to time myself.

But later in the interview, it became clear that the president's jab about hostage takers had bothered him.

Stahl: There have been moments of disrespect shown to President Obama.

Boehner: Well, there was some disrespect, I would suggest, that was shown to me yesterday by the president.

The most powerful Democrat and the now most powerful Republican are sizing each other up. They may have exchanged more words via television than in person. And most of them have been, shall we say, unfriendly.

Mr. Boehner was the one who urged Republicans in the house to vote as a block against all of Obama's initiatives: health care, the stimulus and on and on. And he escalated the attacks during the campaign.

His strategy of defiance worked.

And on election night, in his victory speech, the public saw something they probably never expected from Boehner: it was called "the sob heard round the world."

"I've spent my whole life chasing the American Dream," Boehner said, choking up.

We learned two things that night: that the speaker-elect is one emotional guy, and that if ever there was an American Dream story, up from nothing, it's Boehner's.

He spent his childhood working at Andy's, his father's bar in Reading, Ohio, a factory town outside Cincinnati.

Stahl: You worked here from the age of…

Boehner: I was about 10 years old. We got to be about nine or ten and we came in on Saturday mornings with Dad. And mopped the floor. Helped cook breakfast. Clean up the dishes. Wash the windows.

His brothers and sisters all worked at the bar, all 11 of them, most of whom we met that day.

"Is this the first time since the election?" Stahl asked his siblings.

"Since the election. Yes. Yes," several of them replied.

"So, now are you have to gonna call him Mr. Speaker?" Stahl asked.

"No," several of them replied, laughing.

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