Meet The Next House Speaker, Rep. John Boehner

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

The question now is whether he can work things out with the president. At his news conference on Tuesday, Obama threw out a challenge: "Once John Boehner's sworn in as speaker, he'll have a responsibility to govern. You can't just stand on the sidelines and be a bomb thrower," the president said.

Boehner: We have to govern. That's what we were elected to do.

Stahl: But governing means compromising.

Boehner: It means working together.

Stahl: It also means compromising.

Boehner: It means finding common ground.

Stahl: Okay, is that compromising?

Boehner: I made it clear I am not gonna compromise on my principles, nor am I gonna compromise…

Stahl: What are you saying?

Boehner: …the will of the American people.

Stahl: You're saying, "I want common ground, but I'm not gonna compromise." I don't understand that. I really don't.

Boehner: When you say the word "compromise"…a lot of Americans look up and go, "Uh-oh, they're gonna sell me out." And so finding common ground, I think, makes more sense.

Stahl reminded him that his goal had been to get all the Bush tax cuts made permanent.

Stahl: So you did compromise.

Boehner: I've, we found common ground.

Stahl: Why won't you say you're afraid of the word.

Boehner: I reject the word.

One reason is because half of his new members are Tea Partiers who think compromise is a dirty word - even when it comes to raising the national debt limit, which Boehner has said the new Congress will have to deal with as adults to keep the federal government from defaulting.

Stahl: Are you gonna play the adult card with your caucus if they disagree with you?

Boehner: Probably.

Stahl: Sounds like…

Boehner: I'll have my moments, I'm sure.

Stahl: But it's sounds like a put down. Sounds like they're children. And you're going to have to…

Boehner: No, no.

Stahl: …treat them as children.

Boehner: No! And I think we're on a pretty short leash. If we don't deliver what the American people are demanding, they'll throw us out of here in a heartbeat.

Stahl: You think the deficit is a major problem, don't you?

Boehner: I do.

Stahl: Was the tax deal, in your opinion, worth the $900 billion added to the deficit, in your opinion?

Boehner: Washington does not have a revenue problem. Washington has a spending problem.

Stahl: I know. But I'm asking you a simple question. Was it worth what you got, was it worth it in light of the $900 billion?

Boehner: I think it's worth it. I think it will create jobs. And help our economy.

Stahl: You've said you're going to bring up a spending cutting measure

Boehner: Every week.

Stahl: Every week?

Boehner: Every week.

Stahl: What's your first one gonna be?

Boehner: Well, how about we start with cutting Congress? I'm going to cut my budget, my leadership budget five percent. I'm going to cut all the leadership budgets by five percent. I'm gonna cut every committee's budget by five percent. And every member is gonna see a five percent reduction in their allowance. All together that's $25-$30 million and it likely would be one of the first votes we cast.

Stahl: Okay, but you admit that's not very much money.

Boehner: You've got to start somewhere. And we're going to start there.