Boehner: 'I've never read' party platform

The GOP approved a party platform this week during the Republican National Convention, but House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he has not read it — and in fact has "never read one."

"I'm not sure anybody's ever read one, other than maybe the chairman of the platform committee," he told PBS's "NewsHour" on Tuesday.


Boehner's solution means advocating a one-page platform. "I've always believed this," he said. "Back in the mid-90s I was on a crusade to put it on one sheet of paper. One sheet of paper requires you to make decisions, make it clear what the party stands for rather than these long documents that nobody reads."

He might not have read the whole thing either, but Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) recently objected to the platform's call for a constitutional amendment banning abortion without specifying any exceptions. The official Republican position on abortion, which is not new to the party platform, was already earning fresh criticism due to a gaffe by Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) earlier this month when he attempted to explain his own opposition to abortion exceptions.

Boehner said: "Mitt Romney, myself, others, who are very pro-life, and the American people today — a majority of them identify as pro-life. But we all have exceptions for rape, incest, life of the mother. And frankly almost all of my colleagues in the House have the same exceptions."

Another Republican centrist, retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine) wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post over the weekend warning that Romney needs to "disassociate himself from the extremes within our party" in order to win the presidency. She referenced the Akin controversy.

"I frankly don't think we take extreme positions," Boehner said, responding to Snowe. "Do we have some members who are a little bit further right than others? Yes. But as a party as a whole I don't think that's an issue."

Boehner, who said in April there was a "one-in-three chance" House Republicans could lose the majority this November, added the party is "doing better" now. 

"I feel confident we'll hold our majority, but my goal is to win every seat we can win," he said.