But, in his first and last appearance on Jay’s couch Thursday night, Boehner was indisputably No. 1 in a succession of blunt, undiplomatic remarks that had the potential, by turns, of irritating House Republicans he putatively leads, prompting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to plot diabolical payback, causing former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to send him a pricey bouquet, and provoking an international incident involving Russian President Vladimir Putin.
This was Boehner unplugged—possibly Boehner unhinged (unhinged from his talking points, at least). In any event, it was the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the constitutional leader of one of the three branches of government, as he is seldom seen or heard on those starchy Washington Sunday shows or during his regular Thursday morning press gaggles.
“Ever think of running for president?” Leno asked him at one point.
“No!” Boehner fairly shouted.
“Wanna show what you did when I asked you before?” Leno coaxed—apparently referring to a backstage hand gesture of the sort that the Ohio Republican might also have made a year ago when advising Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to perform the anatomically impossible.
“Listen,” Boehner said, ignoring Leno’s invitation, “I like to play golf, I like to cut my own grass, I do drink red wine, I smoke cigarettes—and I’m not giving that up to be president of the United States.”
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