Saturday, December 8, 2012

Boehner Bursts Into Tears at Fiscal Cliff Press Briefing (December 8, 2012)

Boehner Bursts Into Tears at Fiscal Cliff Press Briefing

Washington (AP) -- Speaker of the House John Boehner, apparently overcome with frustration at the pace of “Fiscal Cliff” negotiations, burst into tears at a press briefing this afternoon.  When asked repeatedly to characterize the progress of the talks, Boehner wavered, and then began sobbing, saying “It’s just not fair!  Every other time the President did what I wanted him to, but this time I just don’t think he's going to!”

Public tears are nothing new to the Speaker.  He has been known to wear his emotions on his sleeve, often sniffling when referencing his hardscrabble upbringing or expressing his love for the country.  But never before has he slipped when discussing policy or politics.

The crying jag was brought on by a seemingly innocuous question by Kelly O’Donnell of NBC, after a series of related questions from the White House press corps.  “Mr. Speaker, how would you describe the tone of the discussions so far, the tenor of them if you will?”  At that point, clearly emotional, the Speaker’s lip quivered before the floodgates opened, as the phalanx of congressional Republicans behind him began to shift uncomfortably and exchange worried glances.

The Speaker pulled out a handkerchief and wiped his cheeks and appeared to recover quickly.  He launched into another critique of President Obama but then faltered again.  “The President has wasted another week with his refusal to….ah….his refusal to…I mean, he just isn’t doing what I want him to do!”  At this point the Speaker broke down entirely as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor stepped forward, closely followed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.  Cantor grasped the Speaker and then appeared to give him a quick shove in the direction of McConnell, who took the Speaker by the shoulders and guided him away from the podium, patting his back.

“Speaker Boehner is right in…ah….concept,” Cantor declared.  “We stand united in opposition to President Obama’s one-sided approach to the fiscal cliff negotiations.”  Cantor then nodded curtly to the press and jerked his thumb to the congressional delegation in an apparent directive to leave, as the press shouted questions that went unanswered as the congressmen shuffled off hurriedly.

Shortly thereafter, the Speaker’s office issued a terse statement.  “Our position on the fiscal talks is unchanged.”

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