President? No, Boehner says, not gonna give up golf, wine and cigarettes

David LightmanTribune News Service

House Speaker John Boehner made what Jay Leno called his first and last (Leno's leaving Feb. 6) appearance on his show Thursday night--and said being a regular guy was more important to him than being president.

Leno has often joked about Boehner, and before the speaker came out, Leno joked it was so cold that instead of looking orange, Boehner looked blue.

Leno showed a photo of Boehner's family, talked about his upbringing, talked his darker complexion.

"Never a spray tan?" Leno asked.

"Nothing," Boehner said.

He joked about how his name is often mispronounced, saying he was happy his name wasn't Weiner.

Then came insight about his job as speaker. Sometime he has to be big brother, sometimes he's father like and sometimes, he said, he feels like a dean of students.

Leno asked the Ohio Republican, now third in line to the presidency, if he wanted the big job.

"Listen, I like to play golf," Boehner said. "I like to cut my own grass. You know, I do drink red wine. I smoke cigarettes. And I'm not giving that up to be the President of the United States."

The audience cheered.

Boehner was the Tonight Show's second guest, after actor Matt LeBlanc. Boehner looked relaxed, as he explained the current status of his party, which is being torn by divisions between establishment conservatives and Tea Party loyalists.

"The funny thing about the so called infighting is that we agree on all the goals," he said, a point being made repeatedly this week in Washington, as the Republican National Committee conducts its winter meeting.

Obama and he get along fine, Boehner said.

But, "We think Obamacare is bad for the country. We think we shouldn't spend more than what we bring in. We think the President is ignoring the law. It's all a fight over tactics. It's not over what our goals are."

David Lightman
McClatchy Washington Bureau