By Russell Berman - 11/03/11 06:07 PM EDT
Grover Norquist is widely considered one of Washington’s most influential conservative activists, but to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), he’s just “some random person.”
Norquist is the author of a pledge against raising taxes that 238 House members have signed. It has come under intensifying criticism from Democratic leaders and some Republicans, in part, for impeding a grand bargain on deficit reduction that would include significant revenue increases.
At a press conference on Thursday, Boehner, who has signed the pledge himself, tried unsuccessfully to dodge the question of whether Norquist is a positive influence on the House GOP conference.
After a nearly five-second pause, Boehner replied: “Listen, our focus here is on jobs. We’re doing everything we can to get our economy moving again and get people back to work. So it’s not often I’m asked about some random person in America and what I think.”