House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) downplayed the influence of the Tea Party, which suffered a few losses but will see most of its House members return in the 113th Congress.
“This has been the most misreported story of my two years’ tenure. We don’t have a Tea Party caucus to speak of in the House,” Boehner told ABC News in an interview. “All of us who were elected in 2010 were supported by the Tea Party.”
In fact, the Tea Party Caucus was founded in the House in July 2010 by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who narrowly won re-election Tuesday.
Of the 55 caucus members who ran for re-election, at least 51 will return.
“These are ordinary Americans who’ve taken a more active role in their government,” Boehner continued. “They want solutions, but we’ve all come a long way over the last two years. I think we all understand each other a lot better.”
Boehner told Diane Sawyer “raising tax rates is unacceptable” but “Obamacare is the law of the land.”
When asked if vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan is now the new leader of the GOP, Boehner demurred, “Oh, I wouldn’t think so.”
“Paul Ryan’s a policy wonk,” he said. “He’s involved in the cause of trying to bring us pro-growth economic agendas for America and making sure that we’re doing this in a fiscally responsible way. I’m glad that Paul Ryan’s coming back to the Congress. I would expect he would continue as chairman of the Budget Committee.”
Once he realized Mitt Romney would lose on election, Boehner went to bed and “slept like a baby.”
“I may not like the five cards that have been dealt to me, but those are the cards I’ve got in my hand, and my job on behalf of the American people is to find a way to vote with my Democrat colleagues and a Democrat president to solve America’s problems,” he said. “If there was one mandate that came out of the election, it was find a way to work together to address our problems.”