By Alicia M. Cohn - 08/14/12 12:55 PM EDT
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Monday night praised Mitt Romney as "brave" for his choice of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as running mate.
"I couldn't be happier for Paul, and I think Mitt Romney made a brave choice and a wise choice," Boehner told Fox News host Greta Van Susteren. "There were safer choices."
"It would have been easy for Gov. Romney to just go somewhere else and not have to deal with it," Boehner said. "But he didn't do that. That's because the issues that Paul Ryan has carried on behalf of our team are issues that are important to this election and important to the future of our country."
Boehner, describing Ryan as a "practical conservative," defended his past vote for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and dismissed concerns that Romney's choice of running mate failed to shore up the GOP presidential contender's foreign policy credentials.
"I do believe that Gov. Romney and Mr. Ryan can handle the foreign-policy issues," he said. "But that's not going to decide this election. It's going to be about our economy and putting the American people back to work and saving the future for our kids and our grandkids. Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney can deliver this message much better than any two Republicans I know."
Boehner went on to discuss his approach to working with Democratic lawmakers, who often criticize him sharply in public, saying when it comes to those attacks he chooses not to "remember those statements."
He said he never asks Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in private about the harsh criticism he levels at House Republicans in public.
"Ted Kennedy and I used to be friends, too, close friends, and worked very closely together. But I never asked Ted about why he said some of the things that he said," Boehner noted. "You know, people in this business from time to time are going to say things that are a bit over the top."