Tales from the Trail

Romney, Boehner do burgers

It was an all-American moment for Mitt Romney and House Speaker John Boehner on Sunday in their first joint appearance since Romney clinched the Republican nomination for president.

The pair rallied in Troy, Ohio, in Boehner’s Congressional district, along with Ohio U.S. Senator Rob Portman.

Amusingly, Boehner reminded the crowd that when he first ran for Congress few people knew his name – and many thought it was pronounced “Boner.”

After speaking to the crowd of about 500, the group went into K’s Hamburger Shop, a famous local joint, to meet patrons and grab some food.

“I’ll take care of the orders,” said a take-charge Boehner, to which Romney responded, “If I take care of the bill?” “No, no, I’ll take care of the bill,” the Speaker said.

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.

Washington Extra – In abeyance

Some say impasse, some say abeyance.

But whatever they call it, debt negotiations between Vice President Joe Biden and lawmakers hit a brick wall.

After two days of meetings this week, Republicans decided it wasn’t worth going to the third session today and walked away.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor took the harsher line, saying the talks were at an “impasse.” Dictionary definition: a situation from which there is no escape or a deadlock.

Washington Extra – Tee party

President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner get to flex their golfing skills tomorrow and we’re guessing there’s plenty of pre-game strategizing going on.

Is Obama telling Vice President Joe Biden, arguably the best golfer of the four, to hold back on the hole-in-ones? They do after all want Boehner amenable to their views on the debt limit stand-off.

Is Ohio Governor John Kasich giving Boehner advice on how to keep the Veep off-guard so they can ruin his handicap and have bragging rights on the Republican versus Democrat scoreboard?

White House shrugs off Obama comments caught on open microphone

The White House is shrugging off candid comments by President Barack Obama about private budget talks with Republicans. The next day’s message is — no big deal.

OBAMA/Obama was speaking to supporters at a political fund-raiser in Chicago after reporters left the room. But a microphone was accidentally left on and the comments were piped back to the White House press room and recorded by CBS News and ABC News.

Obama said he told House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell that they should not try to “sneak” through a provision on Planned Parenthood. “‘You guys want to have this debate? We’re happy to have that debate. We will have the debate on the floor of the Senate or the floor of the House. Put it in a separate bill. We’ll call it up. And if you think you can overturn my veto, try it,’” he said.

Obama has budget deal “bonus” for Colorado schoolkids; Boehner bashes Democrats at fund-raiser

OBAMA/

President Barack Obama is getting into a habit of surprising tourists. Over the weekend it was a trip to the Lincoln Memorial, and on Monday he turned up to surprise a group of school children at the White House.

“Not only did things work out, but we figured we’d give you a little bonus,” Obama told the 50 students from Altona Middle School in Colorado. Then he posed for pictures with them and answered a few questions behind the White House. (One of his favorite things about being president is that he has no commute because his office is right next to his house).

The mother of one of the students, Shalini Schane, wrote a letter to Obama on April 6 begging him to find some agreement to keep the government open so that her son could make a class trip to Washington for which his class had been raising money all year.

There’s politics happening in Washington, Obama complains

It’s a bit like being surprised there’s gambling in Las Vegas.

Politics in Washington?

OBAMA/President Barack Obama riddled his speech in Pennsylvania with criticism of people (think capital R) who would play politics with important issues like the budget.

“So we’ve agreed to a compromise, but somehow we still don’t have a deal, because some folks are trying to inject politics in what should be a simple debate about how to pay our bills,” Obama said.

“Companies don’t like uncertainty and if they start seeing that suddenly we may have a shutdown of our government, that could halt momentum right when we need to build it up — all because of politics.”

What would Gingrich do?

RTR2JLFO_Comp-150x150President Obama may be in hot water with lawmakers who think the U.S.-led military mission in Libya is a big mistake. But some GOP voices are calling for an escalation of U.S. involvement — or at least an expansion of U.S. goals.

Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker who is considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination, tells NBC’s Today show that the United States will face defeat in Libya if the current mission ends with Muammar Gaddafi still in power.

People might have a hard time arguing with that point.

But what would he do now, if he were president?

Gingrich’s answer sounds just like the message John McCain conveyed on the same TV show a day earlier, when LIBYA-REBELS/GADDAFIhe called for arming the Libyan rebels to ensure the end of Gaddafi’s 41-year rule.

Washington Extra – Same page

Alarm over Japan’s nuclear crisis prompted a slumping stock market to slump some more in a third day of selling.

The United States and Japan weren’t quite on the same page in terms of advice to the public. The State Department recommended that Americans living within 50 miles of the Fukushima nuclear plant evacuate or stay indoors, while Japan asked residents within 18 miles to do the same.

USA-BUDGET/Republicans and Democrats are still not on the same page as far as spending cuts go, which means back to the drawing board with a three-week reprieve from the sixth stopgap spending bill expected to pass Congress by Friday. Talks will get an added kick when the latest temporary funding bill is passed, but in a divided Congress bipartisan deals become a fairly lofty goal.