Incoming speaker Boehner lays low — really low

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and most other legislators were on the floor as members yelled, “Boehner” and “Pelosi,” as well as a few shout-outs for Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.).

So where was Boehner? 

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The exact whereabouts of the Speaker remain a mystery, although a spokesman said he spent at least some time in the House cloakroom, probably rehearsing his speech and trying to keep his emotions in check. A seat apparently reserved for Boehner next to Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) remained vacant.

As the result of the Speaker election was announced and Republicans burst into applause, there was a long moment of awkwardness as eyes darted around the House, looking for the man of the hour. 

Thirty seconds passed. Still no Boehner. The applause petered out as Cantor shrugged and laughed it off, and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) came over to fill Boehner’s conspicuously empty chair. 

Finally, Boehner burst in from the top center door and delivered a speech that was emotional, though he didn’t shed as many tears as he did during his recent interview on “60 Minutes.”