The 5 quotes from John Boehner’s “This Week” interview you need to read

October 6, 2013

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) sat down Sunday with George Stephanopoulos of ABC's "This Week" for a wide-ranging interview on the nation's debt, the government shutdown and President Obama.

(Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)
(Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

Below we summarize the interview by looking at the five most important quotes. You can check out a full transcript here and read more about what Boehner said over on Post Politics.

What he said: "There are not the votes in the House to pass a clean CR."

Why it matters: There is some dispute about this comment (adding together the House Republicans and Democrats who have said they would vote for a clean CR suggests it would pass it could pass, if all Democrats vote in lockstep) but the bottom line is Boehner is not going to bring it to a vote on the House floor. Period. It would cost him big-time among his conference. He reiterated Sunday that it is simply a non-starter.

What he said: "We're not going to pass a clean debt limit increase."

Why it matters: This was a message to Obama, who has called for a clean increase and has not budged. Boehner is saying that simply isn't going to happen in the House. So to get an increased limit, there have to be negotiations -- that's the message he's sending, at least.

What he said: "My goal here is not to have the United States default on their debt. My goal here is to have a serious conversation about those things that are driving the deficit and driving the debt up. And the president's refusal to sit down and have a conversation about this is putting our nation at risk of default."

Why it matters: What's clear is that Boehner is going to continue to argue in the coming days and weeks that the risk of default is Obama's fault for not being willing to negotiate over the debt ceiling.

What he said: "I thought the fight would be over the debt ceiling. But you know, working with my members, they decided, well, let's do it now.  And the fact is, this fight was going to come, one way or the other."

Why it matters: This quote, about the government shutdown fight, illustrates how much pull the GOP conference's conservative elements have on Boehner. They more or less forced his hand, even if he won't outright say so.

What he said: "If I knew, I would tell you."

Why it matters: Boehner was responding to a simple yet complicated question from Stephanopoulos: "When is this going to end?" Boehner doesn't know. Neither does anyone else, apparently. The quote reinforced that there is no clear resolution to the fiscal standoff that has seized Washington.

Sean Sullivan covers national politics for “The Fix.”
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Chris Cillizza | October 6, 2013