Boehner’s climate speech is seen as one for the ages

House Minority Leader John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) animated speech on climate change late last week has attracted praise from both Republicans and Democrats.

Boehner, known for his laid-back personality and constant shrugs, delivered a scathing critique of the Democrats’ climate bill that passed 219-212 on Friday. Some political observers on and off Capitol Hill say the speech could represent a significant change in Boehner’s leadership style.

Fifteen minutes into what most expected to be a two-minute closing argument against the bill, Boehner pulled out a pair of reading glasses from his coat pocket and flipped open the four-inch binder he had slammed on the lectern before him.

Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), who voted against the bill, said, “If I were the average Joe listening to this at home I’d think, ‘That was a pretty good speech.’ ”

“I actually thoroughly enjoyed John Boehner’s speech,” said Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.). Wu backed the bill on Friday.

In his remarks, Boehner said, “It’s hard to say in the first six months of the new Congress that this could be the defining vote and the defining bill for this Congress, but I really, truly believe that this is the defining bill.”

Most importantly, Boehner — who has been overshadowed at times in his career by former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and President George W. Bush — united his GOP conference.

The Hill
7/1/9