Boehner likes Jeb Bush in 2016

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday night that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush would be a great president if he ran in 2016. 

However, the Speaker made clear he is not endorsing anyone more than two years before the election. 

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“Well listen, I’m not endorsing anybody, but Jeb Bush is my friend, and I frankly think he would be a great president, I really do,” he said on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” 

Bush was the only potential GOP candidate Boehner mentioned when asked who he liked for president. 

In the wide-ranging interview, Boehner also touched on last October’s government shutdown and other presidential prospects.  

Boehner said the bridge scandal that has dogged New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) would not be going away any time soon — whether or not Christie knew anything about the lane closures. 

“It doesn’t appear he knew anything about it,” he said. “He took responsibility, fired the people who were involved, he apologized. But this is not going to go away any time soon.” 

The 64-year-old Speaker poured cold water on the thought of him ever running for president. He said his current lifestyle means too much to him. 

“I like to play golf,” he said. “I like to cut my own grass. You know, I do drink red wine, I smoke cigarettes and I’m not giving that up to be president of the United States.” 

In the interview, Boehner agreed that most people blame the GOP for shutting down the government. He said his caucus was wrong tactically.

“I said you want to fight this fight, I’ll go fight the fight with you,” he said about the tactic of using government funding as leverage to defund ObamaCare. “But it was a predictable disaster, so the sooner we got it over with the better.”

He also lashed out at outside groups who purport to speak for the Tea Party. 

As Speaker, Boehner said he wears many hats with his members — sometimes acting as brother, father, principal or even “the Gestapo.”

His time growing up in a bar, he said, has served him well. 

“When you grow up at a bar, I mopped floors, did dishes, waited tables, tended bar,” he said. “And you have to learn to deal with every jack--- who walks in the door. Now trust me, I need all the skills I learned growing up to do my job.”