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Fox News Continues Its Boehner Make-Over Plan To Get The Speaker To Stop Crying

Reported by Ellen - January 30, 2011 -

At the beginning of January, I noted that there seemed to be an official Fox News effort to get Republican House Speaker John Boehner to turn off the waterworks. That effort continued Friday night and into the weekend as first Bill O’Reilly and then Chris Wallace suggested that Boehner should stop crying and get a grip. This being Fox News, the effort didn’t come without a slap at Democrats – in this case O’Reilly suggested that President Obama’s State of the Union shout out to Boehner was a deliberate ploy to bring on blubbering. But there was no mistaking the continuation of a persistent effort to staunch the tears. At the end of his interview with Boehner, Wallace made it clear he was going to keep up the pressure on Boehner about it.

“I think Obama tried to make him cry,” O’Reilly opined on The O’Reilly Factor Friday night (1/28/11) as he played the clip of Obama's shout out amid a discussion of Fox News Sunday’s upcoming interview with Boehner. “But he (Boehner) did, did hold back,” O’Reilly said.

O’Reilly added that Boehner “looks like a smart guy to me,” but “He’s got to get his emotions under control. Are you gonna ask him about that?”

“Sure,” Wallace said. “I can’t tell you how many people around the country were asking about it… ‘What’s the deal with this guy?’ I mean, you say, ‘kids’ or ‘American dream’ or ‘you’ve come a long way’ and he seems to puddle up.”

Wallace quickly assured The Factor viewers that Boehner is for real and a “rock-ribbed Republican from the heart of the country” who “wears his emotions very close… That’s just who he is… It obviously upsets some people.”

O’Reilly insisted he wasn’t upset but that it was a question of good leadership. “Leadership is a very complicated thing. You got your George Pattons. You got your George Washingtons. Stoic, tough… Boehner is the leader right now of the Republican Party… a lot of Americans, you know, well, if the guy’s crying every two minutes, does that mean he’s strong? Does that impact on his leadership? His credibility?”

Earlier today, at the end of his lengthy interview with Boehner, Wallace fulfilled his promise to O’Reilly and asked, “Why do you cry so often?”

After hearing the answer, Wallace noted that Boehner sounded like he was "puddling up" right then and there. Boehner denied it but he kidded that Wallace should have given him a box of tissues. Wallace joked in return, “We thought about having them stacked all around the studio but we thought you might not like, appreciate that.”

Wallace pressed Boehner in a way he rarely does with Republicans, especially not prominent ones, noting that even some of Boehner’s supporters say his crying makes him look “weak or strange.”

I’m no fan of Boehner’s but I liked his answer. “Chris, you know me, I am who I am… and I’m not going to apologize for being emotionally attached to the things I feel most strongly about in this town.”

Wallace then moved on ask Boehner why he didn’t quit smoking.

This time, Boehner’s response almost made me like him. “Oh, why do we bring this up again? …It’s a legal product and I choose to smoke. Leave me alone.”

Wallace ended by saying that he will leave Boehner alone on smoking but “not on anything else.”