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Boehner: Obama has "given up" on governing


Just before President Obama took to the podium on Thursday for a press conference at the White House, House Speaker John Boehner posed a question, taking a shot at the president for campaigning more than he is working with Republicans on a plan for the economy.

"Why have you given up on the country and decided to campaign full time instead of doing what the American people sent us all here to do... to find common ground and deal with the big challenges that face our economy and our country?" Boehner asked at the Washington Ideas Forum.

"Nothing has disappointed me more than to watch what's happened over the past five weeks... to watch the president of the United States give up on governing, give up on leading and spend full time campaigning," he said.

Mr. Obama has made a dozen stops in states important to his re-election, like North Carolina and Virginia, to sell his $447 billion jobs plan since unveiling it in September. He'll also embark on a bus tour in late October.

Mr. Obama said shortly after during the news conference that he was open to negotiating with members of Congress, which he also ribbed as "a do-nothing Congress."

"All year I've reached out to the president," Boehner said across town at the Newseum. "We've moved dozens of bills over to the United States Senate that are just sitting there. That would help create jobs in America."

"Yet the president, some 14 months before the election, throws in the towel," he continued. "We're legislating, he's campaigning."

Boehner acknowledged that it's been difficult for him to gain full support of his party in the House.

"I don't have the strongest hand I could have," the speaker said. "They want more."

Boehner spoke more positively of the president on the topic of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, agreeing that more progress has been made against al Qaeda and the Taliban under Mr. Obama than former President George W. Bush.

When asked about former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's recent announcement that she would not seek the Republican presidential nomination, Boehner said she would play a role in 2012 and it'd be "helpful" to have her campaign for House Republicans.

Boehner was interviewed by the National Journal's congressional correspondent Major Garrett at the Washington Ideas Forum, hosted by The Atlantic and the Aspen Institute.