Speaker Boehner says AWOL Obama 'shrinking from his responsibility to lead'

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday accused President Obama of “shrinking from his responsibility to lead” and going “AWOL,” placing full blame for Washington’s dysfunction at the doorstep of the White House.

The Speaker opened his weekly press briefing with a withering assessment of Obama’s job performance, leaving no doubt that the 2012 campaign has now overtaken the legislative session in Congress.

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“The president checked out last Labor Day,” Boehner said as he sharpened a critique he has made for weeks. “He’s 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 is shrinking from his responsibility to lead.”

After a brief burst of productivity in March, when Congress enacted bills to help start-up companies and prevent insider trading by lawmakers, all indications are that serious legislating will take a back seat to campaigning until November. House Republicans this week are advancing two bills — a tax cut for small businesses and a measure to construct the Keystone oil pipeline — that Obama has threatened to veto.


Boehner defended the House GOP’s agenda against the suggestion that Republicans were engaging in the same kind of politicking as the White House, which has pushed a tax increase on the wealthy that the GOP has rejected.

“The president’s been AWOL,” he said. “If the president was serious about helping to create jobs, where are his ideas? Why won’t he sit down and talk to us?”

“When there’s no conversation, there’s no engagement, all we’re left with is moving our own ideas through the regular order, through the regular process here in Congress,” Boehner said.

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also lambasted the president for failed leadership on Wednesday, saying in comments on the Senate floor that the president had been a “disgrace.”