John Boehner Blames Republicans For The Government Shutdown


House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on Thursday told “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno that Republicans were to blame for the government shutdown last fall.

“I told my colleagues in July I didn’t think shutting down the government over Obamacare would work because the president said I’m not going to negotiate,” he said. “And so I told them in August, probably not a good idea. Told them in early September. But when you have my job, there’s something you have to learn. When I looked up, I saw my colleagues going this way. You learn that a leader without followers is simply a man taking a walk. So I said, do you want to fight this fight? I’ll go fight the fight with you. But it was a very predictable disaster.”

Boehner talked about his frustrations in dealing with his rebellious GOP caucus.

“With some members, I have to be the big brother figure. Some, I have to be the father figure. Others, I have to be the dean of students or the principal. Some of them, I have to be the Gestapo,” he said.


Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.