Boehner, speaking at a fundraiser in West Virginia last week, suggested that “some friends, relatives and fellow Mormons” will actively back Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and presumptive GOP nominee.
“Listen, we’re just politicians,” he added. “I wasn’t elected to play God. The American people probably aren’t going to fall in love with Mitt Romney. I’ll tell you this: 95 percent of the people that show up to vote in November are going to show up in that voting booth, and they are going to vote for or against Barack Obama.”
The reports on Boehner’s comments come after some high-profile conservatives, including media mogul Rupert Murdoch, openly wondered whether Romney’s campaign was capable of unseating Obama.
Romney was also seen as having a difficult time exciting conservative voters during the GOP primary campaign, before eventually winning the delegates needed for the Republican nomination.
Roll Call first reported the remarks, which took place on June 30 in Wheeling, W.Va., and were confirmed Saturday by a Boehner aide. The aide also said that the speaker’s remarks came after a woman who had identified herself as “the biggest Democrat in the room” asked: “Can you make me love Mitt Romney?”
Boehner has said that Romney, a former private equity executive, has the private sector experience needed to help turn the economy around. The chairman of the Republican National Convention, Boehner endorsed Romney in April, after the former Massachusetts governor had effectively locked up the nomination.
The Speaker also campaigned for Romney at an Ohio event on Saturday, and both Boehner and Romney have cited Friday’s disappointing jobs report as proof that Obama needs to be denied a second term.
“Mitt Romney believes, just like we do, that if we’re going to get the economy back, if we’re going to put the American people back to work, we need to fix the tax code, we need to stop the regulatory juggernaut that’s going on in Washington and we need to fix our economy,” Boehner said at the event in West Virginia. “Solid guy, he’s going to do a great job, even if you don’t fall in love with him."
The Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate remained at 8.2 percent and that U.S. economy added 80,000 jobs in June – the third consecutive month that job growth numbered in the five figures.
For his part, Obama was able to excite many voters, including many younger Americans, on his way to victory in 2008. A recent Gallup poll also found that more people found Obama likable (81 percent) than Romney (64 percent).
But that poll also gave Romney an advantage when it came to who can manage the government effectively, and Republicans have been trying to make the case that Obama’s popularity four years ago hasn’t led to an improved economy.
"This is a failed presidency," Romney said earlier this year. "He's a nice guy, but he's in over his head. We need to have a president who understands the economy if we're going to fix the economy."