Boehner chokes up over Henry Hyde and getting a pro-life award

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
Font Size:

House Republican leader John Boehner could hardly get through his remarks in front of a pro-life group Wednesday night, choking up while talking about the late Rep. Henry Hyde and growing up in a family with 12 children.

“Henry Hyde was one of my heroes,” he said, stopping to dry his eyes with a handkerchief.

Boehner is known in Washington for tearing up on occasion.

Pro-life group Americans United for Life honored Boehner with the 2010 Henry J. Hyde Defender of Life Award before a crowd sipping cocktails on a downtown Washington rooftop. The group said they were recognizing him for his “extraordinary leadership in the fight to prevent taxpayer-funded abortion and for his work to protect women’s health in his own state of Ohio.”

Americans United for Life president Charmaine Yoest embraced Boehner as he lost composure several times during his brief remarks.

“This will be great on your video,” Boehner, wiping his eyes, said to the laughter of the crowd.

After telling the crowd that conservatives may have “lost the battle, but we haven’t lost the war” over health care, Boehner lost composure when talking about how he has 11 brothers and sisters. “I know it wasn’t convenient for my mother to have 12 of us.”

“But I’m sure glad they’re all here,” the leader said while crying, leaving the stage unable to speak further.

According to AUL, the Henry J. Hyde Defender of Life Award was established to honor the late chairman of the House Judiciary Committee by awarding an elected official “who demonstrates outstanding leadership in the cause of Life.”

“One of the reasons we wanted to give the award to leader Boehner is because he’s been an unheralded stalwart on this issue and as you could see last night, it’s not just something where he happens to be pro-life,” said AUL spokesman Matthew Faraci. “The pro-life issue is of great significance and importance to him.”

“It’s neat to see in a town like Washington where people become so cynical,” he said.

Here’s part of Boehner’s remarks, captured by Robert Stacy McCain:

E-mail Alex Pappas and follow him on Twitter