Heard on the Hill: Sniffling Speaker

Posted April 6, 2011 at 4:56pm

Speaker John Boehner might be known for his waterworks, but the Ohio Republican doesn’t usually tear up for Democrats.

Rep. Collin Peterson, ranking member of the Agriculture Committee, must have a special place in the Speaker’s heart.

The Minnesota Democrat unveiled his official portrait in the committee hearing room Tuesday. Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) spoke at the ceremony. While the former Speaker kept her cool, Boehner’s eyes welled with tears.

Boehner got emotional as he reflected on his history with Peterson. “He had to stop and collect himself for a few seconds,” an anonymous tipster tells HOH. “He choked up.”

Rumor has it the two are longtime smoking buddies. Both were members of the same freshman class, and they served together on the House Agriculture Committee for 15 years. In his speech, the Speaker praised Peterson for his work on the 2008 farm bill.

It’s not the first time Boehner has broken down in tears. He has cried in public several times in recent months, most notably when he took the Speaker’s gavel, during floor tributes to the Arizona shooting victims and on a “60 Minutes” interview.

Perhaps the Republicans would have more luck trimming the budget if they didn’t have to spend so much on tissues.