Boehner Seems To Contradict Self With U.S. 'Short On Revenues' Comment

Apr 25, 2011

Speaker John Boehner made a statement in an interview with ABC News' Jonathan Karl sure to cause some doubletakes.

It wasn't that high gas prices might cost President Obama the election. Linking high gas prices to the alleged failures of Obama's policies is part of the GOP strategy heading into the 2012 general election.

Ditto for the speaker's comment that the president's re-election chances may be hurt by a relatively jobless recovery. That's not news either.

What may strike many as news, however, is that Boehner appeared to diverge from Republican and conservative talking points which is that the nation has a spending not a revenue problem to say, that, yes, Washington actually does have a revenue problem.

It came during the part of the interview with Karl in which the speaker said Washington policymakers might need to consider ending tax code subsidies for the largest oil companies.

An excerpt from the web text version of Karl's report:

"It's certainly something we should be looking at," Boehner said. "We're in a time when the federal government's short on revenues. They ought to be paying their fair share."

Saying the government's "short on revenues" is arguably another way of saying there's a revenue or tax problem.

If Boehner actually meant to say this, it would place him at odds with, well, himself, for instance. Only earlier this month he said: "Washington has a spending problem, not a revenue problem" at a news conference.

Boehner's statement to Karl will probably resound, at least for a few days. It would be surprising if Democrats didn't pounce on it or the speaker or his people didn't find it necessary to clarify it before the week is out. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit