The new House Speaker-designate, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, broke down in tears tonight at the Republican election headquarters as he talked about his hardscrabble upbringing in a family of 12 children.
“I’ve spent my whole life chasing the American dream,” Boehner, the current House Republican Minority Leader, told a cheering crowd as he choked back tears in the ballroom of the Hyatt in downtown Washington.
“I started out mopping floors, waiting tables, and tending bar at my dad’s tavern,” Boehner said. “I put myself through school working odd jobs and night shifts. I poured my heart and soul into a small business. And when I saw how out-of-touch Washington had become with the core values of this great nation, I put my name forward and ran for office.”
The crowd at one point chanted “Speaker!” “Speaker!” as Boehner delivered his victory speech, which was short and very subdued. Boehner promised change in Congress and said he would work to lower taxes and reduce the size of government, among other reforms.
“Across the country right now, we are witnessing a repudiation of Washington, a repudiation of big government and a repudiation of politicians who refuse to listen to the people.”
Boehner said it was time “to roll up our sleeves. To look forward with determination. And to take the first steps toward building a better future for our kids and grandkids.”