House Speaker John Boehner said President Barack Obama is “diminishing the presidency by picking fake fights” as he seeks re-election.
Boehner, an Ohio Republican, cited as examples the Democratic president’s recent campaign to freeze interest rates on student loans, to set a minimum tax on income more than $1 million, and to curb manipulation in the oil markets.
“The point I’ve been trying to make here in the last couple of weeks is that the president’s bigger than this,” Boehner said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” program. “America has big challenges; big fiscal challenges and we’ve got big challenges for our economy. And the president ought to be working with Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill to address the big issues that affect the American people.”
Obama led presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney by seven percentage points among registered voters in a Gallup poll conducted April 21-26. When asked who they would vote for if the election were held now, 50 percent of respondents said Obama and 43 percent said Romney, who secured his hold on the Republican nomination this week when former Speaker Newt Gingrich’s campaign said he would withdraw from the race.
Boehner called Romney ‘a very likable person,” saying he wasn’t troubled that the former Massachusetts governor -- unlike himself -- comes from a privileged background. Romney’s father, George Romney, was governor of Michigan and chairman of American Motors Corp.
“The American people don’t want to vote for a loser,” Boehner said. “Mitt Romney has an opportunity to show the American people that they, too, can succeed.”
Romney helped form the private equity firm Bain Capital LLC in Boston. Boehner grew up mopping floors and waiting tables in his father’s bar and worked several jobs, including as a janitor, to pay his way through college.
Boehner said Romney’s vice presidential candidate would be a “personal choice.” He mentioned Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels as potential picks that would have “the number one quality” needed in a vice president, which he described as the capability to be “president in the case of an emergency.”
Rubio, whose parents are Cuban immigrants, might help Romney woo Hispanic voters, a demographic that supported Obama in 2008. Obama leads among Hispanics, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll conducted April 11-17, in which that 64 percent of Hispanic respondents said they support the president compared with 24 percent for Romney.
Won’t Alter Outcome
Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Romney’s vice presidential pick probably wouldn’t alter the outcome of the race.
“The idea that you’re going to reshuffle the deck would be unusual in American history,” Barbour said.
To boost the president’s re-election prospects, Obama’s campaign has been courting women voters, with whom Obama already has an edge.
Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie said Sunday that women’s concerns about the economy will swamp Obama’s efforts to reach out to them.
“The U.S. economy is a hostile workplace for women under President Obama because it’s harder to get a job,” Gillespie said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program. “So we look forward to the debate.”
“It’s still the economy, and women aren’t stupid,” Gillespie said.
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