Meet John Boehner – powerful politician, ‘simple guy’
The most powerful Republican in America mows his own lawn, had youthful aspirations of becoming a salesman and quietly convinced two know-it-all lawmakers to vote “yes.”
House Speaker John Boehner revealed these and other aspects about himself during a question-and-answer session after a high-profile speech Thursday to the Economic Club of Washington.
Drawing laughter from the crowd, Boehner also made it clear he has no interest in running for vice president, a job that requires attending plenty of foreign funerals.
“I have enough trouble going to funerals of people I know,” said Boehner, known for easily breaking into tears. “I’m a pretty simple guy,” said Boehner, who’s led his party’s charge to shrink the U.S. government since taking the gavel in January as House speaker.
“People ask me if I’m having fun? Hell no, I’m not having fun. But I’m glad I’m here,” Boehner said. “I rely on being straight up with people.”
Some time back, Boehner said he had to deal with two House Republican freshmen, “young whipper snappers who seemed to have all the answers,” and who opposed him on a certain matter.
“I brought them in my office, closed the door … looked at them and said, ‘Boys, I’m not going to open it until you say yes. It could take 30 seconds, 30 minutes … three hours,’ ” Boehner recalled. “It took about 45 minutes.”
Boehner said despite his lofty position in Washington, back home in Ohio he handles the yard work.
“On Monday, Labor Day, I cut the grass then promptly sharpened the blade of the mower and made sure it had ample oil. Because when I’m not there, my wife cuts the grass.”
Boehner played high school football player, but said he never dreamed of turning pro.
“I always wanted to be a salesman. Eventually that is what I did. I thought I would do that the rest of my life,” Boehner said. “But along the way, I got involved in my neighborhood homeowners association, and I ended up in the United States Congress.”
Photo Credit: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (Boehner before speech at the Economic Club in Washington)