Boehner: Most people prefer football to politics

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday that he thinks it's "important" to listen to what President Obama has to say in his jobs speech Thursday night, but he dismissed the notion that the speech should be elevated to the status of a major national event.

Boehner said Thursday that he'll be "looking for where's the common ground" between the two parties in regard to the president's speech.

"We know that the two parties are not going to agree on everything, but the American people want us to find common ground and I'll be looking for it," Boehner said.

Asked if the Republican decision not to offer an official Republican response to the speech was "disrespectful" to the president, the House speaker said no.

"Listen, this is not a State of the Union address," Boehner said. "The American people shouldn't be forced to watch some politician they don't want to listen to. And frankly, most of them would rather watch a football game."

Mr. Obama will speak before a joint session of Congress Thursday to lay out a plan to create jobs and grow the economy. But with just 14 months to go before the 2012 election, many wonder what the president can realistically do to create jobs in light of GOP opposition to most possible stimulative measures.

Boehner said Thursday that Republicans had opened up a statuary hall for Congress members' use if they wanted to respond to Mr. Obama's speech individually.

"I think it's a more appropriate and respectful way to go forward," he said.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, a Republican presidential candidate, plans to hold a Capitol Hill press conference shortly after the president speaks.