“You know where he’s from. He’s from Massachusetts, although he can’t say the word ‘Massachusetts,'” Boehner said, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
A Boehner spokesman downplayed the comment, instead highlighting the differences between the lawmakers on what led to the current financial meltdown.
“Boehner and Frank have known each other a long time, and it was an off-the-cuff joke,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel. “The real issue right now is Chairman Frank’s efforts to deny his role in blocking needed reforms at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, even as fellow Democrats are admitting they made a mistake in protecting the “toxic twins.”
A spokesman for Frank did not immediately return a call for comment.
The two parties have clashed in recent days over the extent to which mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have contributed to the recent economic crisis.
On Monday, Frank said that Republican criticism of Democrats over the nation’s housing crisis is a veiled attack on the poor that's racially motivated.
"They get to take things out on poor people," Frank said at a mortgage foreclosure symposium in Boston according to the AP. "Let's be honest: The fact that some of the poor people are black doesn't hurt them either, from their standpoint. This is an effort, I believe, to appeal to a kind of anger in people."
In response, Boehner called Frank's remarks: "a lame, desperate attempt to divert Americans' attention away from the Democratic party's obstruction of reforms that would have reined in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and helped our nation avoid this economic crisis,” according to the AP.
Frank contends that in the 12 years that Republicans controlled Congress from 1995 to 2007 they did not pass any meaningful reforms of Fannie or Freddie.