Boehner Explains Why he Lobbed F-Bomb at Reid

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 7 2013 1:54 PM

Boehner Explains Why He Told Reid To Go F*ck Himself During Fiscal Cliff Negotiations

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Speaker of the House John Boehner says President Obama "believes in the power of government," while "I believe in the power of the American people. It is really that simple."

Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

The Wall Street Journals Stephen Moore, a member of the paper's editorial board, interviewed House Speaker John Boehner and writes a more than 1,800-word piece allowing the lawmaker to explain his side of the negotiations and vote to save the United States from the “fiscal cliff.” In short, Boehner wants to convince us that things didn’t turn out as badly for the Republicans as many think: "Who would have ever guessed that we could make 99 percent of the Bush tax cuts permanent?" But there are also quite a few gems in which the chain-smoking lawmaker vents his frustrations about President Obama and lays out markers for future negotiations. That’s not to say he’s looking forward to his starring role in the talks: “I need this job like I need a hole in the head.”

Boehner also explains why he now famously told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to go fuck himself:

I was in Ohio, and Harry's on the Senate floor calling me a dictator and all kinds of nasty things. You know, I don't lose my temper. I never do. But I was shocked at what Harry was saying about me. I came back to town. Saw Harry at the White House. And that was when that was said.
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Boehner says that one of the most frustrating aspects of the negotiations was Obama’s alleged insistence that “we don’t have a spending problem.” And although the press was adamant in displaying the Republicans as the bad guys who wouldn’t compromise, “I’m the guy who put revenues on the table the day after the election.” For future negotiations, Boehner agrees with other members of his party that “the tax issue is resolved” and insists he won’t have any more closed-door, sit-down negotiations at the White House, calling them “futile.” The next big showdown with Democrats will take place over the debt ceiling and the spending sequester, which Boehner says is the best leverage Republicans will have in the negotiations.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.