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John Boehner Sees Self as Change Agent

Speaker John Boehner today teed off on President Barack Obama’s recent comments that you cannot change Washington, D.C., from the inside, saying that in his more than two decades on Capitol Hill, he has.

“President Obama’s latest excuse is, ‘Well you can’t change Washington from the inside.’ Well, you actually can change Washington from the inside. But it takes courage, it takes determination and it takes sincerity. And it’s called leadership,” the Ohio Republican said.

Boehner said that as a member of the “gang of seven” GOP freshmen who were elected to Congress in 1990, he was instrumental in reforming Washington, including the push to close the House bank after the House banking scandal.

He mentioned that he worked for years to end the practice of attaching earmarks to appropriations bills and finally succeeded when he became Speaker.

“You can’t tell me you can’t fix Washington from the inside,” he said. “I have this belief, and I frankly think it’s troubling that the president doesn’t share my optimism about fixing this town.”

Boehner was asked why Obama is leading his opponent, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, in the polls in Ohio. Boehner chalked it up to Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), his former House colleague, for getting the economy moving again there.

“It’s been a close race in Ohio; it’s going to be a close race in Ohio,” Boehner answered. “One of the things that probably worked against Romney in Ohio is the fact that Gov. Kasich has done such a good job of fixing government regulations in the state, attracting new businesses to the state, so our unemployment rate in Ohio is lower than the national average.”

He did not mention the auto bailout championed by the president and opposed by Republicans down the line, which helped avert massive job losses in the Buckeye State’s automotive industry.

Still, Boehner said that heading into the last recess before the election, he is optimistic about House Republicans’ chances of keeping control of the chamber.

“I continue to feel confident about House Republicans’ chances of holding on to our majority,” he said. “We’ve done a good job of getting our incumbents in shape. … We’ve got some very good candidates out there where we’re playing offense.”

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