Boehner: Obama Is ‘Shrinking From His Responsibility to Lead’

By Edwin Mora | April 18, 2012 | 5:43 PM EDT

President Obama delivers his State of the Union address to Congress on January 24, 2012, as House Speaker John Boehner looks on. (AP Photo)

( – President Obama has chosen to campaign rather than lead the country and lacks the courage to deal with the problems facing the American people, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Wednesday.

Addressing a press briefing, Boehner also disputed Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s assessment on Sunday that Obama’s economic policies have been “remarkably effective.”

“You know, the president checked out last Labor Day,” the Speaker told reporters. “He spent the last six months campaigning from one end of the country to the other, instead of working with members of both political parties here in Washington to address the serious challenges that our country faces.”

“He’s shrinking from his responsibility to lead and, rather – not using and not having any courage to help tackle these problems. And as I’ve said before, if the president won’t lead, Republicans will – and we are.”

Pointing to Geithner’s comments of the effectiveness of the administration’s economic policies, Boehner said, “I don’t think there’s anything ‘remarkably effective’ about 38 straight months of unemployment higher than eight percent – the longest such period since the Great Depression.

“And I don’t think there’s anything ‘remarkably effective’ about adding five trillion dollars of debt on the backs of our kids and our grandkids,” he continued. “And there’s nothing ‘remarkably effective’ about doubling gas prices and blocking more American energy production that could begin to address those rising gas prices.”

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Boehner accused the president of employing “political gimmicks” that fail to address the country’s fiscal woes.

“Our country is facing some serious economic and fiscal challenges, and the global challenges that we have continue to mount,” he said. “And all the American people are getting from the Obama administration are political gimmicks – like the so-called ‘Buffett rule,’ that won’t do a thing to create jobs in our country. Even the president has admitted that his ‘Buffett tax’ is a gimmick that won’t help our economy.”

“You know, yesterday’s gimmick was this new focus on oil manipulation, even though the White House can’t produce one shred of evidence that this manipulation is taking place,” Boehner said. “And if they thought it was taking place they have the tools and the laws already in place to go after it. So here’s the president using the Rose Garden for an announcement on tackling a problem that they have no shred of evidence even exists.”

Boehner also credited his fellow House Republicans with taking legislative action to address the economic problems.

“While the president continues to push tax hikes, Republicans are focused on lowering taxes for small business owners,” he said. “Tomorrow the House will vote on the small business tax cut, which will provide 20 million American small businesses with the resources they need to expand their businesses and hire more workers.”

“It’s all part of our plan to help American job creators. We’ve got 30 bills sitting over in the United States Senate, this will be one more,” continued Boehner.” If the president wants to help create jobs and get our economy going, he ought to be calling [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid and pushing the Senate Democrats to take these bills up.”

On  Sunday, Geithner said on NBC's Meet the Press that Obama’s handling of the economic crisis has been “extremely successful,” adding that “history will judge what he did as remarkably effective crisis management.”

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