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JOHN BOEHNER encourages all members to attend Obama’s speech – TheHill.com

September 8, 2011

Boehner encourages all members to attend Obama’s speech

By Russell Berman – 09/08/11 11:42 AM ET

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is encouraging all members of his conference to attend President Obama’s address to Congress on Thursday night, even as a few GOP lawmakers have said they won’t go.

“I’ve encouraged my colleagues to come tonight and to listen to the president,” Boehner told reporters after meeting with the Republican conference.

Reps. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) and Paul Broun (R-Ga.) have announced they will skip the president’s speech, and Boehner conceded there was only so much he could do to encourage attendance.

“He is the president of the United States, and I believe that all members ought to be here,” Boehner said. “It doesn’t mean they’re going to. Remember, I’m just the Speaker. I’ve got 434 colleagues who have their own opinions, and they’re entitled to them. But as an institution, the president is coming at our invitation. We ought to be respectful, and we ought to welcome him.”

Boehner also defended his decision not to offer an official Republican response to Obama’s address, as is traditional after presidential speeches to a joint session of Congress. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has criticized the decision as disrespectful.

“This is not a State of the Union address. The American people should not be forced to watch some politician they don’t want to listen to,” Boehner said. “I think they’d rather watch football.”

via Boehner encourages all members to attend Obama’s speech – TheHill.com.

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