'American Dream': John Boehner Set to Take House Helm

The fiery GOP veteran went from humble childhood to House speaker-to-be.

ByABC News
November 2, 2010, 10:36 PM

Nov. 3, 2010 — -- Rep. John Boehner, likely the next speaker of the House of Representatives, sounds ready to get to work in his new role.

"This is a time to roll up our sleeves," a tearful Boehner, R-Ohio, said Tuesday night during his victory speech in Washington, D.C., "to look forward with determination and to take the first steps toward building a better future for our kids and grandkids."

A 20-year veteran of the House and the fiery leader of the House Republicans for the last four years, Boehner has made a name for himself as one of the most high-profile and spirited rhetorical opponents of outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and President Obama during the last two years.

"Hell no, you can't!" he said on the House floor as the health care bill was passing.

Boehner is a political survivor who has said that when he falls down, he smiles and works harder. If elected speaker, he will have his work cut out for him as he faces a new caucus of Republicans that includes political novices and Tea Party favorites.

On Tuesday night, he said that his work ethic is a result of his humble beginnings.

"I hold these values dear because I lived them," he told supporters.

Born John Andrew Boehner in 1949, he was one of 12 brothers and sisters in Reading, Ohio.

"We always had enough people to play a baseball game," said Boehner's brother Bob Boehner.

The family lived in a two-bedroom house in Cincinnati. Boehner's parents, Earl and Maryann Boehner, slept on a pull-out couch.

"You had to learn how to compromise because you only had one bathroom," Bob Boehner said.