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Mar 182013
 

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — House Speaker John Boehner says he cannot envision a situation where his views would shift away from his opposition to same-sex marriage, even if one of his children came out as gay.

The Ohio Republican made his comments during a pre-taped interview that aired Sunday on ABC’s This Week shortly after Ohio Sen. Rob Portman announced his support for same-sex marriage.

Portman acknowledged his change of heart came after his college-aged son, Will, told him and his wife that he was a homosexual.

Boehner told ABC’s Martha Raddatz that while Portman is a close friend of his and that he respects his views, “I believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.  It’s what I grew up with.  It’s what I believe.  It’s what my church teaches me.  And I can’t imagine that position would ever change.”

Most Republican public figures agree with Boehner, although there has been some shifting of views about same-sex marriage as a group of more than 100 people with connections to the GOP have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn California’s Proposition 8, which bans gay and lesbian nuptials.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Mar 172013
 

TOBY JORRIN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz during an exclusive interview for This Week that talk of including revenue as part of an effort to strike a so-called “grand bargain” to address the $16 trillion debt of the United States was “over,” leaving Democrats and Republicans where they have been for months – at loggerheads.

“The president believes that we have to have more taxes from the American people. We’re not going to get very far,” Boehner said. “The president got his tax hikes on January 1.  The talk about raising revenue is over.  It’s time to deal with the spending problem.”

Boehner said the United States does not face an immediate debt problem, agreeing with recent comments by President Obama – but he added debt is an issue that will have to be addressed.

“We do not have an immediate debt crisis – but we all know that we have one looming,” he said. “And we have one looming because we have entitlement programs that are not sustainable in their current form. They’re going to go bankrupt.”

Boehner said “hope springs eternal” in regards to the possibility of a budget deal, and told Raddatz that he has a “very good relationship” with President Obama and that he “absolutely” trusts him. He added that the president’s recent outreach — or so called “charm offensive” –intended to woo Republicans, is a “good thing.”

“It’s always a good thing to engage in more conversation, engage more members in the conversation that have not been involved up to this point,” he said.

Raddatz asked Boehner about the divergent messages seeming to emerge from CPAC, this weekend’s conservative political conference, citing speeches by Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. Marco Rubio.

“There’s nothin’ wrong with the principles of our party,” he said. “But Republicans have not done as an effective job as we should in terms of talking about our principles in terms that average people can appreciate — why balancing the budget, as an example, would be good for American families. We’ve got to do a better job of helping people understand what our principles are in terms that they deal with every day.”

On gun control, when asked if he would commit to a vote on the House floor Boehner told Raddatz ” we’ll see what the Senate does, we’ll review it, and we’re going to continue to have our hearings and review this issue.”

Lastly, Boehner, who is Catholic, addressed the election of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the new pope, Pope Francis.

“Well, this is the first time that we’ve had a pope from the Americas,” Boehner said. “So, I think it’s a giant step forward for the church.  Latin America is a very, very Catholic continent.  And I do believe that Pope Francis is the right person to really bring reform to the church.

“They’ve got a number of issues at the Vatican that I think need fresh eyes,” Boehner added. “And he’s clearly made a commitment to clean up some of the problems that the church has had.  And it’s pretty clear from his humble nature that his papacy will be one that I think a lot of people will appreciate.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Mar 162013
 

ABC/Martin H. Simon(WASHINGTON) — Hours after Sen. Rob Portman, the Ohio Republican, bucked his party and came out in support of gay marriage, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, reaffirmed his position against it in a wide-ranging, exclusive interview with ABC News’ Martha Raddatz for This Week, that will air on Sunday.

Boehner told Raddatz that he could not envision a situation where his views would shift on same-sex marriage – even if one of his children came out as gay.

“Rob’s a great friend and a long-time ally. And I appreciate that he’s decided to change his views on this,” Boehner said. “I believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. … It’s what I grew up with. It’s what I believe. It’s what my church teaches me. And I can’t imagine that position would ever change.”

Portman, who Mitt Romney considered tapping as a running mate in last year’s presidential election, changed his position on same-sex marriage after his son came out to him as gay. The Ohio senator is among a small, but growing number of prominent members of the GOP to express support for gay marriage.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Mar 012013
 

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — It had no real bearing on his press conference about the very serious matter of the U.S. deficit and the upcoming sequester, but the President showed himself to be neither committed Trekkie nor Star Wars fanboy at a White House press conference Friday.

After an hour-long meeting between Democrats and Republicans ended without any resolution to the dreaded sequester that is set to kick in Friday, a reporter asked the president why he didn’t lock congressional leaders in a room and make them work until there was a deal.

Here’s how he responded:

I am not a dictator, I’m the president.

So ultimately, if Mitch McConnell or John Boehner say “we need to go to catch a plane,” I can’t have Secret Service block the doorway, right?

(Cross talk.)

No, no, I understand. And — and I — and I — I know that this has been some of the conventional wisdom that’s been floating around Washington that somehow, even though most people agree that I’m being reasonable, that most people agree I’m presenting a fair deal, the fact that they don’t take it means that I should somehow, you know, do a Jedi mind meld with these folks and convince them to do what’s right.

Well, you know, they’re elected. We have a — a constitutional system of government. The speaker of the House and the leader of the Senate and all those folks have responsibilities.

What I can do is I can make the best possible case for why we need to do the right thing. I can speak to the American people about the consequences of the decisions this Congress is making or the lack of decision-making by Congress.

Wait. Jedi mind meld? There are Jedi mind tricks, of course, from Star Wars. And there is Vulcan Mind Meld, from Star Trek. But in equating the two, the president erred. He mixed Star Wars and Star Trek.

The people who spend a lot of time on Twitter in the middle of the day, naturally got immediately diverted from sequestration and decided instead to poke fun at the Sci-Fi/Fantasy conflagration by the commander-in-chief.

Of course, there is an argument that he could be forgiven for the mix-up. The two franchises will now sort of be linked since Star Trek reboot director J.J. Abrams is signed on to direct a Star Wars reboot.

If America can bring Star Wars and Star Trek together like that, why can’t she fix the deficit?

Obama complained that Republicans won’t negotiate with him. House Speaker John Boehner, appearing at his own press conference up on Capitol Hill, said Republicans wouldn’t accept any more addition revenue — taxes — as part of any deficit reduction plan. They accepted some earlier this year as part of a deal to extend Bush era tax cuts for most Americans.

Obama rattled off the things he would accept as long as Republicans would accept more revenue.

“Give me an example of what I’m supposed to do,” he said to a reporter, suggesting the White House and Republicans just can’t find an earthly way to agree.

Maybe Obama could use a bit of the Force to achieve a bit of mind meld.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Mar 012013
 

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The budget ax is about to fall, and there’s little lawmakers in Washington are doing to stop it.

Despite a parade of dire warnings from the White House, an $85 billion package of deep automatic spending cuts appears poised to take effect on Friday.

The cuts — known in Washington as the sequester — will hit every federal budget, from defense to education, and even the president’s own staff.

On Capitol Hill, Senate Democrats and Republicans each staged votes on Thursday aimed at substituting the indiscriminate across-the-board cuts with more sensible ones.  Democrats also called for including new tax revenue in the mix.  Both measures failed.

Leaders on both sides publicly conceded that the effort was largely for show, with little chance the opposing chamber would embrace the other’s plan.  They will discuss their differences with President Obama at the White House on Friday.

“It isn’t a plan at all, it’s a gimmick,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Thursday of the Democrats’ legislation.

“Republicans call the plan flexibility” in how the cuts are made, said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  “Let’s call it what it is.  It is a punt.”

The budget crisis is the product of a longstanding failure of Congress and the White House to compromise on plans for deficit reduction.  The sequester itself, enacted in late 2011, was intended to be so unpalatable as to help force a deal.

Republicans and Democrats, however, remain gridlocked over the issue of taxes.

Obama has mandated that any steps to offset the automatic cuts must include new tax revenue through the elimination of loopholes and deductions.  House Speaker John Boehner and the GOP insist the approach should be spending cuts-only, modifying the package to make it more reasonable.

“Do we want to close loopholes?  We sure do.  But if we are going to do tax reform, it should focus on creating jobs, not funding more government,” Boehner said, explaining his opposition to Obama’s plan.

Boehner, McConnell, Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will huddle with Obama at the White House on Friday for the first face-to-face meeting of the group this year.

“There are no preconditions to a meeting like this,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Thursday.  “The immediate purpose of the meeting is to discuss the imminent sequester deadline and to avert it.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio