MAYBE BOEHNER NEEDS TO GET OUT MORE…. Well, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) asked for it.
Boehner claimed, with a semi-straight face, that he has yet to meet a regular “American” who favors the option — despite polls showing that a majority of voters support to the idea of having the choice of a government plan.
“I’m still trying to find the first American to talk to who’s in favor of the public option, other than a member of Congress or the administration” said Boehner, whose sole recent foray into a public discussion of health care reform was a tea-party-style event in Ohio a few weeks back.
“I’ve not talked to one and I get to a lot of places,” he told reporters at his weekly press availability. “I’ve not had anyone come up to me — I know I’m inviting them — and lobby for the public option.”
Really? He’s “inviting” supporters of a public option to let him know about their position?
Boehner probably meant this as a throwaway line, and didn’t think it through. But it’s causing something of a stir.
Many Dems are noting, for example, that 57% of Ohioans — Boehner’s home state — support a public option. The Minority Leader may “get to a lot of places,” but maybe he needs to travel his own state a little more.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has launched an online petition for public option supporters to email Boehner about their support for the policy. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) has launched a campaign of its own. HCAN has sent out a petition to its national list, and as of this afternoon, there’s even a Facebook group on this. (Update: What’s more, American United For Change put together a video on this, and I’ve been told that AFSCME has organized phone calls to Boehner’s office from public option supporters.)
Several House Dems have also taken the opportunity to ridicule Boehner’s limited sources of contact.
Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT): “[I]t’s pretty clear John Boehner isn’t hanging out with the people he represents when he goes home. Maybe he should change up his golf foursome to include fewer Republican cheerleaders and hit the links with a few regular people.”
Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY): “There are plenty of average Americans in Louisville who support the public insurance option, and I’d be happy to personally pay for one of them to fly to Washington to tell John Boehner why, if he will agree to meet with them in public. Shoot, I’ll pay for John to come to Louisville, if that will make it easier for the Minority Leader.”
And Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz: “Minority Leader Boehner clearly hasn’t been listening to the American people.”
I haven’t noticed if the major news outlets have picked up on this — I kind of doubt it — but it’s nice to see the left pounce on a foolish remark like the one Boehner offered up yesterday.