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John Boehner greets Obama overtures with skepticism, wants to 'trust but verify' moves toward bipartisanship

By Paul Kane
Congressional Republicans distanced themselves Thursday from the recent bipartisan talk of President Obama, launching a "trust but verify" program for dealing with Democrats in the months ahead.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), who hosted Obama at the Republican retreat last Friday for a rare 90-minute session of questioning the president, told reporters that Democratic leaders define bipartisanship by "unveiling their own partisan bill and then expecting the Republicans to vote for it."

"Make no mistake: Republicans will not blindly abandon our commitment to the American people and throw out our principles. Certainly not based on empty rhetoric that only came about after Democrats' agenda ran into a buzz saw of public opposition," Boehner said. "So my approach will be 'trust, but verify,' and I think the American people feel the same way."

Boehner's comments suggest that House Republican cooperation with Obama will likely continue to be very limited for the remainder of the year, despite signs of a more cordial coexistence in the wake of Friday's session in Baltimore. Boehner and a bipartisan group of congressional leaders are expected to sit down next week with Obama for the first of what are planned monthly meetings in the West Wing. And Obama has, for the second year in a row, invited a bipartisan collection of lawmakers to the White House to watch Sunday's Super Bowl.

Despite those steps, early indications were that progress would be fleeting on substantive matters.

All 175 House Republicans who were present Thursday afternoon voted against a $1.9 trillion increase to the national debt limit, leading to a razor-thin 217-212 passage of the bill. Senate Republicans sped up the swearing-in of Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R-Mass.), scheduled for late Thursday afternoon, in order to break the Democratic filibuster-proof majority and block a presidential nominee to the National Labor Relations Board. GOP aides privately griped that Obama's monthly meetings are not all that different from those held by George W. Bush earlier this decade, which were held at least every other month and produced very little in the way of bipartisan results.

Since Brown's stunning victory in a special election Jan. 19, Obama has delivered a series of talks about reaching across the aisle, most recently Wednesday in second televised question-and-answer session, held with Senate Democrats. Republicans contended that Obama's more recent remarks were designed to impugn GOP efforts at outreach.

"The president turned around this week and claimed Republicans are just 'sitting on the sidelines.' I saw one headline that said, 'Obama blasts GOP.' It's not hard to figure out the shell game that's going on here. I know bipartisanship when I see it. It's not saying one thing and doing another," Boehner said.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), a senior Democratic leader, said he hopes the new Obama effort will set up a clash of ideas between the two parties, ending what he called "a free rein [for Republicans] in attacking the Obama agenda."

"What we've been saying to the White House is not that Republicans are the 'Party of No'. It's that they're the 'Party of No New Ideas'. We're going to have an argument about what these guys would do if you handed the keys to the car back to them," Van Hollen said.

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 4, 2010; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Capitol Briefing , Economy , Health Care  
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Comments

I am beginning to believe that there is no hope for this country and that we will get the government we deserve. A government run by big business and the Republican party destined to be broke from never ending wars against unseen enemies...drugs and terrorists.

Posted by: metroman76 | February 10, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for allowing me to state my honest feelings and opinion regd. that idiot Boehner.
Boehner is a cancer to America. He is a liar, a cheat, and a self-serving pcs. of trash just like his"buddy" that moron from Virginia.
Boehner cannot hold a candle to President Obama. Boehner is an uneducated pcs of scheise.
The taxpayer pays for his daily tanning booth routine and to have his hair colored.
How did Ohio ever pick this pcs of trash. He has not contributed ONE thing for America and its people except to say NO.
Hell will be toooo goood for him and his cronies.

Posted by: patmcintyre | February 9, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

what i don't understand is why is the president trying so hard to invite the [gop] to the table with healthcare reform they have already said no john boehner and his boy toy from [virigina] are playing politic games, democratis needs to get thiers act together instead of worrying about being elected again they should be worry about doing the people business now and let the chips fall where they may the [gop is already in the gut but the people spoke in 2008 and it wasn't for the [gop] but the democratis act as if they are afraid to govern and that is why the people are weary if the democratis get out and explain what they are trying to do and stop playing poltic as usually then the people can trust them to run [washington d c] but if they continue to coward down to the [gop] and let them hold this country hostage they will go down like the[gop] so democratis the ball is in your court do the people business or lose in november its your choice.

Posted by: nyokadavis | February 9, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

what i don't understand is why is the president trying so hard to invite the [gop] to the table with healthcare reform they have already said no john boehner and his boy toy from [virigina] are playing politic games, democratis needs to get thiers act together instead of worrying about being elected again they should be worry about doing the people business now and let the chips fall where they may the [gop is already in the gut but the people spoke in 2008 and it wasn't for the [gop] but the democratis act as if they are afraid to govern and that is why the people are weary if the democratis get out and explain what they are trying to do and stop playing poltic as usually then the people can trust them to run [washington d c] but if they continue to coward down to the [gop] and let them hold this country hostage they will go down like the[gop] so democratis the ball is in your court do the people business or lose in november its your choice.

Posted by: nyokadavis | February 9, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

One thing for sure, this president was never given a chance to lead the nation. The GOP left us with many tough decisions that needed to be made then refused to participate in the fixing of the problems they created.

Medicare will survive if they get rid of that Advantage program the GOP added. Jobs will get better if we get rid of those tax cuts that are sending jobs overseas. We can reduce the deficit while maintaining Medicare yet the deficit hawks want no part in it. Do they really want the deficit reduced or just to return to power where they can raise the deficit more with tax cuts?

Posted by: soapm | February 7, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

It is really simple...

Pass smaller health care bills on stuff both parties agree about. common sense

Realize the sky is not falling, drill for domestic oil, mine for domestic coal.... jobs ...and good jobs... research new energies as we are getting independent of foreign energy sources.

Understand how our "invisible hand" works in this nation... give people liberty to pursue their dreams.... less government @ taxes.... let people keep more of the money they earn... tax the rich when they get that way.... but do not tax the guy trying to get there.

Posted by: memsley | February 6, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

"Make no mistake: Republicans will not blindly abandon our commitment to the American people and throw out our principles. Certainly not based on empty rhetoric that only came about after Democrats' agenda ran into a buzz saw of public opposition," Boehner said. "So my approach will be 'trust, but verify,' and I think the American people feel the same way."
--------------------------------------
Makes sense too me!

Posted by: memsley | February 6, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

John Boehner is a troublemaker to the American People. He is a big NO man and will do anything to put our President down. He should show more respect not only for the head of our country but also the American people who are ONLY middle class. We must defy him. His mouth never stops with negatives. He and McCain sat with arms crossed indefense through out the meeting with our President . Crouched ready to attack. Very sad ......

Posted by: barryaudrey | February 5, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

John say it aint so! The country's business is being left behind. Mr President, you have made the overtures, time to call END GAME! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m32iJgIpyL8

Posted by: Victoria5 | February 5, 2010 4:37 AM | Report abuse

John Boehner's use of the phrase, "Trust but verify" confirms every bad thing I have ever thought about him and every other hyperpartisan in Washington. The phrase was a comment on the cold war. That is the view of most of the politicians in Washington. In an effort to protect their personal interests of getting elected, and then getting reelected, they declare war on the opposition. Boehner goes so far as to resort to stealing war time phrases.

Posted by: kermit5 | February 4, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

How can ANYONE with any grey matter fail to recognize that the ONLY interest that hypocrite Boehner has is TO BRING OBAMA DOWN AT ANY COST. What's best for the USA be damn_d.
The word to describe him accurately is....AMORAL!

Posted by: lufrank1 | February 4, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Now I have heard that John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) both have ID cards taped to their bathroom mirrors. Seems they have a tendency to forget their names and where they live while they sleep.

Of course, what I have heard could be wrong.

Posted by: apspa1 | February 4, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Boehner and the Republicans keep demanding more from Obama when Republicans still have yet to make a genuine move to bipartisanship on their end? Americans are not so stupid as to see through the GOP's own \"shell game.\"

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | February 4, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

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