Transcript: Rep. John Boehner Speaks to Diane Sawyer



DIANE SAWYER: What do you think?

JOHN BOEHNER: Welcome to -- a lot of -- new people being active in politics. You know, I've been to my fair share of Tea Party events and -- over the course of the last year have been in -- over 100 congressional districts and talked to a lot of Tea Party activists along the way. And you'd really be surprised, they're -- most of them are the most normal, everyday people you've ever met. None of them have ever been involved in the political process before. I think we as Americans ought to welcome that participation. I think it's going to reinvigorate our democracy. And be a really good thing for the country.

DIANE SAWYER: She had said at one point, basically, "Whoa" to the -- to the Republican machine that doesn't think it has to follow essentially the Tea Party mandate.

JOHN BOEHNER: So, I told m -- my colleagues -- going back almost a year ago -- that I thought was important to talk to the Tea Party people. To work with them. And to walk among -- walk amongst them. And our -- our members and our candidates, by and large, did that. And having spent a lot of time -- with Tea Party activists. I can tell you they -- they are the most down to earth, ordinary people -- who want the same thing -- for our country -- as -- Republicans, Democrats. They want to make sure that American Dream is alive and well for their kids and grandkids.

DIANE SAWYER: What about --

JOHN BOEHNER: And they -- and they see -- they see all the spending and all the debt and the growing size of government as a threat to that, as do I.

DIANE SAWYER: You're not -- you're not anticipating any problem?


DIANE SAWYER: What about your counterpart, as we know, today he issued a statement basically defending and reinforcing what he had said before. "The most important thing we have to achieve is for Barack Obama to be a one-term President." Do you agree? Is that the most important thing you have to achieve?

JOHN BOEHNER: That's Senator McConnell's statement. And -- and his opinion. I think the American people want us to focus on their message during the election. Stop the spending. Get rid of the uncertainty. Let's get around to creating jobs again. And -- and staying focused on what the American People want us to focus on -- is my number one priority.

DIANE SAWYER: A few personal questions, if I can. Brought this with me.

JOHN BOEHNER: Oh, yeah. I've seen that picture before. I'm the little brown one. (LAUGH)

DIANE SAWYER: When you -- what, 12 brothers and sisters in a two-bedroom house?

JOHN BOEHNER: It was -- it was -- it was -- it was exciting every day, all day. But, you know, my parents were -- they're the most easygoing people that you have ever met. And one of I think the greatest -- gifts they gave me was that of patience. I mean, at -- it would be after dinner, we'd all be wrestling on the living room floor and my mother and father would sit there and read the paper and -- like nothing was going on. And as I got into high school, it used to drive me crazy. (LAUGH) I found out that -- patience is a good thing.

DIANE SAWYER: But was that -- that little boy, sitting in that front row --

JOHN BOEHNER: Yeah, it's --

DIANE SAWYER: -- sitting on the evening of what you're about to do?

JOHN BOEHNER: I know. It's -- it's really quite an honor. And I'm -- I'm humbled -- by the opportunity that I've been given.

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