John Boehner, saying he can "rib people just a little bit too much sometimes," is trying to defuse tensions with fellow House Republicans after poking fun at them for their stance on immigration reform. In a speech last week, the House speaker likened his colleagues to crybabies who wanted to "take the path of least resistance" on immigration overhaul and avoid tough decisions. In a meeting with House GOPers yesterday, Boehner stressed that his remarks were lighthearted, and shifted blame for slow progress on immigration reform back to President Obama, reports the New York Times.
"You tease the ones you love, but some people misunderstood what I had to say, and I wanted to make sure the members understood that the biggest impediment we have to moving immigration reform is that the American people don't trust the president to enforce or implement the law," Boehner said after the meeting. Some observers, however, see Boehner's remarks last week as a sign that he has given up on trying to please the most conservative House Republicans and may not stay on as speaker after this year's elections, the Wall Street Journal reports. Democrats, meanwhile, welcomed his candor. "I'm glad he's complaining about his members for a change and I don't have to," quipped Harry Reid.