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Boehner: White House Hardball 'Beneath the Presidency'

5 years ago
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House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio Thursday became the latest Republican to criticize what he sees as the new, hardball tactics that the White House is employing to strike back at critics of President Obama's agenda, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, doctors and Fox News.

"It really does look to me like Chicago-style politics, where they're trying to demonize their opponents and do everything they can to make them distasteful, when in fact the problem is what they're offering to the American people," Boehner said. "To resort to these kinds of tactics really is beneath the office of the presidency."

Yesterday, the usually mild-mannered Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) went to the floor of the Senate to call on the White House to abandon what he called "street brawling," namely the push back the White House is using against its opponents in the health care and climate change debates.

From the White House's refusal to send a witness to a Senate hearing examining the administration's use of policy czars to the president's promise to "call out" people who mischaracterize the health care debate, Alexander said the White House has crossed into territory that looks like the Nixon White House he once worked in.

"As any veteran of the Nixon White House can attest, we've been down this road before and it won't end well. An 'enemies list' only denigrates the presidency and the republic itself," Alexander said.

Boehner said that other than a visit to the White House earlier this month, he has not spoken with the president or the White House for "months and months."

When a reporter asked Boehner if the Obama administration isn't just replicating tactics used by the Bush White House to discredit its critics, Boehner said, "No, I'm not aware of that."

The reporter followed up by asking if revealing the identify of Valerie Plame, the wife of critic Joe Wilson, as a CIA agent wasn't a retaliatory move by the Bush administration, Boehner said, "I don't recall seeing any of it."

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