John Boehner Addresses Cantor Loss

The speaker of the House says "this is a time to focus on the president's policies that have failed the American people."
16:32 | 06/12/14

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Transcript for John Boehner Addresses Cantor Loss
When I'm down Cutler -- New York speaker of the house John Boehner. Is about to address reporters about the shakeup -- Republican Party leadership after house majority leader Eric -- is unexpected primary loss on Tuesday Boehner who. Cried over -- loss and following resignation yesterday his own future suddenly. A bit uncertain. -- Boehner will be taking the podium in just a moment but first when he goes to Washington DC where our political director -- -- -- -- With little bit ahead of Boehner is speaking so Rick Kantor's big loss this week conservatives now scrambling to replace him is they're gonna come out any kind of endorsement. I'd imagine not -- the practice has been that the house speaker won't say anything publicly but privately. He's got a candidate that he very much wants the wing Kevin McCarthy -- -- the house Republican whip now number three. On the -- on the Republican side would move up with slot. And that would ensure continuity for speaker Boehner the thing that he wants to do more than anything else. Is to make sure that he can keep his troops at bay for the next six months through the election. And that way to do that is it to allow someone who is pretty -- Eric Cantor pretty close the John Boehner in Kevin McCarthy. Again the number three moving up in -- number -- that would be his choice but in -- or formal endorsement. My question is does anyone even want that right now from the speaker of the house. You have to wonder how much that's worth giving me the absolute chaos of the Republican conference is in right now after that stunning defeat on Tuesday. Well that's that's gonna ask you about -- are waiting for the body to be cold and -- a little bit before the Republican party's first -- organizes and and kind of looks around its roster. No they they did not wait at all -- that night people were beginning to make calls about who the next majority leader would be was a foregone conclusion. That -- cancer. Would not be able to remain in that post even if he were decided to run as a write in campaign. You'd be effectively dead in terms of leadership. Opportunities and ended his decision to step down -- it was also -- -- the inevitable so yes this is any grower an aggressive ambitious bunch of folks. There -- a lot of rivalries there -- a lot of cross currents going on inside their House Republican Conference and all that is going to be hashed out now over the next week the leadership elections a week from today OK so. We're talking -- -- would Boehner might happen -- but what about the rank and file Republicans and house there will who might they be leaning towards. So we know about. A congressman McCarthy yes it technically declared yet but we know that he is interested in there -- two other names in the mix early one of them -- already dropped out believe it or not. For the two that we were being talked about -- congressman. -- hence ruling of Texas and -- fellow Texan Pete Sessions. All of them are members of leadership right now has really dropped out pretty immediately after the Texas delegation got together. Now attention is turning to Pete Sessions he ran -- campaign arm during a pretty successful time he's now the chairman of the rules committee and the appeal that he is able offers that he represents a very conservative district in the Dallas area this is not purple state or blue state Kevin McCarthy from California. Eric Cantor of course from Virginia. Even John Boehner from Ohio swing state this is still red territory in Texas. He is more closely aligned congressman sessions is. With the U with the conservative elements in his party is should be noted however that in at times he's clashed with the Tea Party leaders when he ran. The Republican campaign committee for house members he was endorsing candidates that the Tea Party to -- Often he was working for them so his ties. A big questionnaire but that those of the dynamic so far and I would not -- all rule out another candidate getting in representing the Tea Party wing of the party it's not a majority of the party but it is a sizable enough block of votes that they could enter into this is is the the just kind of a side issue on this. It really is a microcosm of the debate that's raging in the Republican Party for some time what direction do you wanna go do you want someone who's going to be at all accommodation is do you want someone who's gonna just sit out there and oppose the Obama agenda at all costs these are very relevant questions for house Republicans. Pop cultural reference here for -- this movie in nineteen and then the ninety's election Reese Witherspoon Matthew Broderick. Is this house leadership race -- -- appear anything to be like this because obviously there wrote a lot of battles that were hard fought in the race. So here's the thing these are 232. People who -- determine within next house majority leader is going to be and it gets. Very personally it's very petty a lot of times that the kind of things you hear about is. You know meet meet -- knocked out of the level of who -- with me at lunch but certainly down to the level of whoever calls me. When they don't actually just need something who shows up in my district or who who'd only calls and when they -- a check for favorite cause -- favored candidate who actually takes the time. The sound me out who who worked with me on that bill and an amendment on that bill. Five years ago ten years ago or five days or five months ago so yes and -- even to the -- to the level of you know who. Who's together -- prayer sessions that that sometimes it held on the hill are. Who who hangs out together in different kind of obscure caucuses and conferences have a different groups of members so yes there are lots of petty rivalries and jealousy that are part of this. And -- what's fun about it is that it all happens behind closed doors -- secret ballots that are cast. Someone will emerge the winner then they burned the ballots it's almost like a papal election where you never find out about everything that happened behind closed doors. Area agency is fascinating to watch imaginations of Washington DC -- want to ask you about the gentleman actually beat cancer and anti war in obvious that -- -- he's been relatively quiet since his big win on Tuesday night. What is he doing now. He he gave -- a couple of national interviews some of the didn't go all that well and now he's essentially gone underground he's granted nothing. For the last 2448. Hours or so in terms of in terms of media access he is he is hiring a staff he is now preparing for. A real campaign -- -- didn't -- -- in the past. All right Rick lets -- go to house speaker John Boehner -- efforts. Some. Asked for the future of nature a little bit with you -- told the members yesterday. It is -- time for unity. As a time to focus on what we all know is true. The president's policies have failed the American people. His administration. Can't -- coming back to real growth in the can. He continues to endanger troops and citizens -- -- failed foreign policies. Another point the administration can't provide basic services -- veterans. We were elected congress and -- -- will stop the president -- the power to do so as well. Every day we're showing the American people we've got better solutions today. -- -- on two more jobs bills -- -- -- small businesses invest and grow. Unfortunately fortunately some Democrats continues sit on our hands and failing. To act on the dozens of jobs bills that are sitting in a Renaissance. But guess what so long as the American people continue to ask the question where the jobs. -- need to be focused. On this one issue. It's on Tuesday that transfer of five hardened terrorist. Has made Americans less it. And I mean that -- -- And when asked last week whether those freed terrorists could return of plotting attacks on Americans. Present Obama recently said absolutely. Well I don't think that's about half of it. This -- -- encourage your enemies and increased. Of the wrist -- military and civilian personnel serving around the globe. Although some would argue the opposite I think are incredibly naive. One of our citizens greatest protections was knowing that the United States does not negotiate with terrorists. And that issue now that principle has -- conference. America is willing to make deals with terrorists that the new Obama doctrine. Back in January -- of the president went to get engaged with what's going on Iraq. And this week we've seen. Big cities in Iraq -- -- with terrorist. -- -- administration's failure to reach -- status of forces agreement continues to have serious consequences. A -- Iraq and American interest in the region. And administration's failed policies and Syria. Libya and Egypt. And his failure to implement. A broader strategy for the Middle East is having a direct impact on the situation in Iraq. The United States has Campbell continued. Vital national interest in -- -- But the progress made there is clearly in jeopardy. President celebrated our exit from Morocco is a hallmark of his foreign policy agenda. But our focus. Should be instead on completing our mission successfully. And I would urge the president once again to get engaged before it's too. Well. -- look political problems. Described vote and figure out what happened. In that elections every election is just. Now under. -- went through -- primary process myself. And at times did you the American people are being squeezed by Obama's policies the economy's not growing incomes are growing -- enough jobs. And and two thirds of Americans. As you know increase in wages but their food prices are going they're gas prices -- -- and our health insurance costs are wrong. So there's a lot of frustration that's out there. And it looked to Washington. And wonder why we care -- -- resolve these issues. -- to resolve O'Neill president who won't engage. There are things you. There are certain things that you felt you had to do and I don't I -- Irish. In a way that I thought. I should run average but -- like an -- Everything. All how important is it. Thanks for unity conference to have red state Republican yet. Well I do think that the members are gonna make this decision over into next week. And pictures on March it was Susan's -- it was too long. But it's important we resolve this issue. In a fair amount of time so that we can do the work we were elected to -- That's of the members -- decision about -- -- the majority leader as the -- How important -- there can't exactly what can harm your -- and I've I've worked with all 434. Other members of congress or -- -- work with whoever. Issues and you can -- that integration. A lot of people are saying -- an immigration reform is dead because -- -- will not -- -- here what happens -- -- well let me first let me first. Let me just first the month the first thing I don't believe the for the first premise here rest. Secondly the issue of immigration reform has not changed. The president continues to ignore laws that he signed into law. Violating his oath of office. Again and again what ray's release of these -- -- -- remind the president again yesterday. That every time he does it. It makes it harder. To gain the trust of our members to do. The big things that need to be done. He went to see this year. The president is gonna have to demonstrate. That he can be trusted to implement -- -- the way it fast. -- -- -- With the vertical club was a good deal on Maggie. The chairman of the joint use of satisfying -- -- up here on on. On the measure of national security you can share it during his death is not -- -- secretary so they are. Did wrong on this issue. Releasing these five people negotiating with terrorists is a principle but we've not violate. And -- -- violated and we've put Americans. At risk as a result. The speaker of what. Message do you believe. That voters were trying to send Washington. In the selection of Virginia was the message at all. -- not -- -- The job market analyzed. Well what happened the selection they're all different. Well I'm sure at some point. People get a handle about the trial won't prevail but surely must have a take away in terms of dealing with issues like immigration Eric Cantor can be branded. You know that he is supporting amnesty how -- your party ever. Move forward on an issue like this is -- time we don't know what -- -- -- -- don't know we don't know that that is the issue -- what's the issue in the election. One of the issues that things. US should be launching airstrikes and if not what should the US. Well I think what we should do. Is to provide the equipment and technical assistance. That the Iraqis have been -- people. I don't know the details about about the air strikes to comment whether we -- we shouldn't. But it's not -- we haven't seen this problem coming for over a year. Hasn't it it's not like we haven't seen over the last five or six months. These terrorists moving in taking control of western rock. -- -- control Mosul there hundred miles from Baghdad and what's -- president. -- -- -- And so ends that news conference with house speaker John -- at the podium there. Address -- at some of the issues. Are facing Washington DC want to bring in our political rhetoric lot of talk a little bit about that brick a bit of an abrupt end there. Sort of caught us off guard -- And a clinic in trying to be uninteresting and a press conference look there's no lesson that it's -- -- could draw out of this that's good for speaker Boehner good for the establishment Republican leadership in congress. This was a Tea Party victory it was a victory for anti establishment forces it was a victory. For anti immigration forces all of those things. Are things that do not cut well against speaker Boehner he is someone that has tried to lead his party through immigration try to lead them through the Tea Party waves that have been self destructive at times for the Republican Party. So there's no -- take away for him to his solution apparently have no takeaways at all and to try to say look it's business as usual we're moving on we're trying to get a new majority leader will do it I've got nothing to say here. Killing as his or -- -- -- for that you go to buy him send -- -- -- political pundits figure out exactly what happened in that race. At the same time he's also taking on the president to task for some some issues the VA scanned though out -- -- Does it appear that he is -- -- to side with the Tea Party. He's gonna try to -- what he can -- their energy because otherwise he's going to be toppled. The Tea -- -- close that ousting speaker Boehner and the establishment before they come very tantalizingly close so much of their cancer at their side. To the fact that Eric -- lost as a result of that Tea Party energy that's got a scare speaker Boehner he just survive very easily his own primary challenge. In his own district he's got members who are not so fortunate. They're still staring down the barrel that as -- -- -- or someone who comes at this. From a much different mentality in the Tea Party he was in congress for 1015 years before the Tea Party was even dreamt of and he's someone has wanted to lead in the past he's trying to bring his conference in places that they don't always wanna go so he -- -- -- -- caught in a tight spot of Tea Party he famously told Diane -- right after the the 2012 election that there is no Tea Party -- that caucus this week up. In the house and he has been proven over and over again to be dead wrong and we -- ready those words over and over again and now is -- new a new challenge because you have this arrested energy inside his own party. -- can -- play out the leadership race. Political director client Washington DC Rick thank you so much appreciate it has always thinks that this has -- an ABC news digital special reporting keep up at the store in real time by downloading ABC news apps start the -- for exclusive updates on the go. For now though I'm -- -- in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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