Boehner: You Can Change Washington From the Inside, ‘It’s Called Leadership’

By Elizabeth Harrington | September 21, 2012 | 12:53 PM EDT

House Speaker John Boehner (AP Photo)

( – In response to President Barack Obama’s comment yesterday that, “you can’t change Washington from the inside,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said on Friday that you can change Washington from the inside, “It’s called leadership.”

At a Capitol Hill press conference on Friday, Boehner opened his remarks by noting the president’s comments that were made on Sept. 19 during an interview on Univision.

Boehner said, “President Obama’s excuse is, well, you can’t change Washington from the inside. Well, you actually can change Washington from the inside -- it takes courage, it takes determination and it takes sincerity.”

“And it’s called leadership,” he said.

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“I’ve been here for 22 years,” Boehner continued.  “I’ve been involved in changing a lot of things in this town.  My days as a member of the gang of seven, closing the House bank, trying to get Congress to run more efficiently and more professionally.”

“And how about the issue of earmarks?” he said.  “Nobody thought we could ever get rid of it.  I spent five years working to eliminate earmarks, over the last couple of years we’ve had no earmarks.”

President Barack Obama being interviewed on Spanish-language Univision, Sept. 19, 2012. (AP)

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

On Univision on Thursday, Obama said, “I think that I've learned some lessons over the last four years and the most important lesson I've learned is that you can't change Washington from the inside. You can only change it from the outside. That’s how I got elected and how the big accomplishments like health care got done – was because we mobilized the American people to speak out. That’s how we were able to cut taxes for middle class families. So, something I’d really like to concentrate on in my second term is being in a much more constant conversation with the American people, so that they can put pressure on Congress to move some of these issues forward.”