House Speaker John Boehner made his first appearance ever on the NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Thursday, where they discussed politics, Boehner's vices and the speaker's tan. His appearance on the show was upbeat, and at times humorous.
While this is Boehner’s first appearance on Leno’s show, it will also be his last, as Leno is leaving the show next month. Boehner said as the conversation got underway, “I heard you going—this show was about over and I thought I’d better get here before it was too late.” In reply, Leno told Boehner, “I was going to say the same thing for you.”
Conversation turned to Boehner’s past as a child, Boehner replied that he had a large family and worked in his dad’s bar growing up, pointing out that his skills to do his job that he learned growing up helped in his present position, he said, “You have to learn how to deal with every jackass that walks in the door, now trust me, I mean I need all the skills I learned growing up to do my job.”
After showing a childhood photo, when asked about his tan, Boehner replied he played golf and rode his bike and cut his own grass. He also pointed out that his mother had a dark complexion, and that he did not tan artificially, didn’t use spray tans or tanning beds.
Discussing the passing of his parents, Boehner said as he reached into his pocket to pull out a cloth, “I know what you’re trying to do, I brought my Hankerchief” as he joked about his reputation as a cryer.
Boehner joked about his name as well, saying, ” You know, it’s hard running for office when people can’t say your name, you know, my name looks like Beaner, Bonner, Boner.” Boehner continued saying, “But, thank God, my name wasn’t Weiner.” After making his light-hearted comment, Boehner turned to the audience and said, What took you guys so long?”
Leno asked for insight into Boehner’s job is Speaker, Boehner replied, “Well, people think, alright you’re the speaker, you’re the leader,they don’t realize that I have got a lot of other roles that I play, for some members I have to be the big brother figure, some I have to be the father figure, others I have to be the Dean of students or the principal, some of them I have to be the Gestapo, but I try to work with members on both sides of the aisle, they have 435 members of the house, it takes 218 to pass any bill, I like to describe my job as trying to get 218 frogs in a wheelbarrow long enough to pass the bill.”
Speaking on the GOP in-fighting that is rife in Washington, Leno asked Boehner if the fighting is the worse he’s seen it, Boehner said first, that he has seen it worse, but changed his mind to say, “Well,”maybe it is.” He added that the members of the GOP agree on all the goals, that Obamacare is bad for the country, that the country shouldn’t spend more than the country brings in, and that Obama is ignoring the laws, “But, its all a fight over tactics.” But, Boehner would go on to say that he and Obama “get along fine.”
As to the Tea Party, Boehner would say that he has no problem with them but pointed to Washington organizations that “purport to represent the Tea Party but mislead them.”
The discussion turned to the political atmosphere in Washington and the government shutdown. Boehner said that even though he felt that that the shutdown disaster was “predictable,” he stood with Republicans to fight against Obama’s health care plan that resulted in closing the government down. He said that in July, he told his collegues that shutting down the government was not going to work, and told them the same thing in August and early September. But, said, “But when you have my job as Speaker, there is something that you have to learn, when I looked up, I saw my collegues going this way, and you learn that a leader without followers is simply a man taking a walk.” He continued about the shutdown saying, “I just thought tactically it was not the right way to do it.”
When queried on his choice for the presidency in 2016, Boehner hinted that he thought George W Bush’s brother, Jeb Bush would make a good president.
Leno then asked if Boehner thought about running for president, but Boehner pointed out that he was not about to give up his vices to take up the presidency saying, “Listen, I like to play golf. I like to cut my own grass. You know, I do drink red wine. I smoke cigarettes, and I’m not giving that up to be president of the United States.”