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 the second oldest, bossy with his three sisters and eight brothers. They lived in a small house, with only one bathroom.

"You had to get along?" Stahl asked.

"Yeah," Boehner's brother Bob replied.

"There wasn't enough room to not get along!" John Boehner said.

"You couldn't fight," Stahl remarked.

"It wasn't like you could hide in another room somewhere," Boehner explained.

"We didn't think it was unusual that we had 12," his brother Bob added.

"Well, the only different between six or seven or 12, is that the chaos lasts longer!" Boehner said.

The congressman told Stahl he goes to church every morning growing up.

The Boehners were John Kennedy Democrats.

But in the 1970s, when he bought a small business and made millions, in plastics, he was shocked at how taxes ate up so much of it and converted to his new political religion: Reagan Republicanism.

In Congress, he was part of the Republican leadership until then-Speaker Newt Gingrich was forced out. Then, as he put it, he clawed and plotted his way back to becoming speaker.

Stahl: On election night, what made you sad, what got to you that night?

Boehner: I was talking, trying to talk about the fact that I've been chasing the American Dream my whole career. There's some things that are very difficult to talk about. Family. Kids. I can't go to a school anymore. I used to go to a lot of schools. And you see all these little kids running around. Can't talk about it.

Stahl: Why?

Boehner: Making sure that these kids have a shot at the American Dream, like I did. It's important.

Turns out his colleagues in Congress are familiar with his waterworks. He even chokes up over legislation.

Stahl: Remember when Ed Muskie cried?

Boehner: Oh yeah.

Stahl: That wasn't good.

Boehner: Wasn't good. That's alright. Listen…

Stahl: Are you trying not to?

Boehner: No. What you see is what you get. I'm, I know who I am. I'm comfortable in my own skin. And everybody who knows me knows that I get emotional about certain things.

So what kind of speaker will he be?

Stahl: Newt Gingrich was quoted in the paper saying that you should look at the mistakes he made and learn lessons from that.

Boehner: I have.

Stahl: You have?

Boehner: I have.

Stahl: Give us a hint of the mistakes that you're gonna avoid.

Boehner: Well, first and foremost, this is not going to be about me.

Gingrich was flamboyant, Boehner is restrained. Gingrich was an ideologue; as a former businessman, Boehner's more of an establishment Republican. During the campaign he was lampooned in ads for playing too much golf with lobbyists. But he also has a record of reaching across the aisle to work on legislation with the Democrats.

Stahl: Ted Kennedy. People are gonna be surprised to find out that you and Ted Kennedy were good friends.

Boehner: We were really good friends.
Stahl: Tell us about that.

Boehner: He may have been this big liberal lion publicly, privately he was a regular guy. You could work with him. Work things out.