House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) appeared on NBC’s Today show to discuss both the situation in Pakistan after the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. Navy SEALS, and his remarks in New York Monday night on the national debt.
“I see an ally, but clearly there are questions that remain about what they knew or didn’t know about bin Laden being in their country,” said Boehner of Pakistan. Asked if he trusted Pakistan, Boehner said, “I do trust them, but I think it’s a moment when we need to look each other in the eye and decide, are we real allies.” He went on to call Pakistan “a real asset.”
Asked if he thought bin Laden’s killing would determine the future of the debate over the budget and the debt ceiling, Boehner said, “That’s the war on terror; we have formidable challenges here at home,” drawing a distinction between the two issues.
On the budget, Boehner took a more combative tone, echoing his message from the night before. “This is a window of opportunity for us to address the big challenges that face our country,” he said. “This is the moment, now, to address those problems as adults.”
Asked about the new line in the sand he drew Monday night on the debt limit and how he thought, given the contentious nature of the debate, both sides could work together, Boehner said, “It’s time to look each other in the eye and do what we know has to be done.”
On the subject of the tea party’s criticism of Boehner’s work on the budget, Boehner seemed unfazed. “I’m a regular guy with a big job,” he said. “This impending debt load on our kids has to be dealt with and it will be dealt with.”
Boehner was firm, however, on the subject of a potential tax increase as a solution to the debt. Keeping to the party line, Boehner insisting that a tax increase would be a job killer. Asked about the rise in unemployment in the period after the Bush tax cuts, Boehner insisted that the tax cuts created “about 8 million jobs over the first 10 years that they were in existence,” and that the decrease in employment could be blamed on the recession, not the tax cuts.
Asked point blank if tax increases were off the table, Boehner was adamant: “It is off the table, everything else is on the table.”
Conversation turned to the 2012 presidential race, and the potential candidacy of real estate magnate and reality show star Donald Trump. “There are a lot of good candidates out there. Donald Trump would be one of them, maybe,” Boehner said. Asked if he would endorse Trump, Boehner dodged, mentioning others like Newt Gingrich, whose spokesman recently said that he would be announcing his candidacy via Facebook and Twitter Wednesday, Boehner said, “He brings an awful lot to the debate.”
Asked about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and the fact Iowa GOP donors were actively courting him to run despite the fact Christie has said repeatedly he would not, Boehner praised Christie. He said that he believed Christie would make a great candidate and that “he has done a great job, and he speaks English...like in plain talk.” Boehner also had praise for Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R).