President Barack Obama took direct aim at the House Republican leader on Wednesday, mocking him for comparing the 2008 financial implosion to an ant.
Obama’s criticism of Minority Leader John Boehner comes four months before the midterm elections and represents the president’s sharpest attack on the Ohio Republican, who has his eyes on becoming Speaker of the House in 2011.
During a town hall meeting in Racine, Wis., Obama noted that Boehner said passing the Wall Street reform bill is akin to using a nuclear weapon to kill an ant.
“That’s right. He compared the financial crisis to an ant,” Obama stated. “The same financial crisis that led to the loss of nearly 8 million jobs. The same crisis that cost people their homes and their lives’ savings.”
The remarks reflect the high stakes of the election and a ramping-up of the partisan rhetoric between Obama and Boehner.
Boehner on Wednesday fired back at Obama, saying, “The president should be focused on solving the problems of the American people … instead of my choice of metaphors. I wasn’t minimizing the crisis America faced — I was pointing out that Washington Democrats have produced a bill that will actually kill more jobs.”
He added, “The American people want leadership from the White House, not more childish partisanship.”
Obama and Boehner like to golf and both have smoking habits, but beyond that, they don’t have much in common.
They appear to enjoy bantering with one another, most famously when Obama last year called the tanned GOP leader a “person of color.”
Boehner later responded, “You only tease the ones you love.”