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Fox News "Live Desk" Interview - Transcript


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MS. MACCALLUM: All right. More to tell us about what we can expect tonight, House Minority Leader John Boehner, who joins me from Capitol Hill.

Good to have you here with us today. Welcome, Congressman.

REP. BOEHNER: Martha, good to be with you.

MS. MACCALLUM: Tell me a little bit about -- I got to get your reaction first. We've all been sort of watching this endorsement by Ted Kennedy. Your thoughts on his endorsement of Senator Barack Obama?

REP. BOEHNER: Well, I think it's a big moment for the Obama campaign. My friend, Ted Kennedy, who I've worked with on a number of bills over the years, I thought, gave a marvelous speech. As a matter of fact, I plan on calling him and telling him.

But it's a big moment for the Obama campaign. I'm not the expert on what's happening on the Democrat primary race for president, but clearly it's a two-horse race, and this will have some impact.

MS. MACCALLUM: All right. Let's talk a little bit about the speech tonight. I know one of the things that you're very -- you feel very strongly about is the earmarks question, and the president -- so far the indication is that he will not, you know, move to eliminate earmarks until the '09 fiscal year. How do you feel about that?

REP. BOEHNER: Well, I think the president's going to make a move tonight calling on Congress to cut the number of earmarks in half and try to eliminate as much of this wasteful Washington spending as we can.

Listen, the American people know that Washington's broken, and I think that the president -- and I know Republicans on Capitol Hill want to show the American people that we want to fix it and help make Washington work for them.

Last weekend at the House Republican conference, we passed a resolution urging Speaker Pelosi to eliminate all earmarks, and let's have a moratorium until such time as we can put together a bipartisan select committee of the House and Senate to look at how do we eliminate these or how do we control these in a way that the American people have some trust in our process.

MS. MACCALLUM: But Congressman, you know, I think a lot of people listen to that and say, why not now? Why not just get it done right away? Why isn't the president calling for it to happen right away, especially, you know, the ones that are sort of air dropped in at the final -- and this -- you know, people can look this up, but it leads to all kinds of wasteful unbelievable spending on things that half the time don't even get used.

REP. BOEHNER: Well, I'd call on our members -- and our members have come to an agreement that there should be no more air-dropped, as we call them, earmarks between the House and the Senate.

Martha, I've never asked for an earmark in the 18 years I've been here in Washington. I've never gotten one. What I'm trying to do is to build a consensus to help move this process along; because when you say the word "earmark," you can't even get an agreement on what a definition of an earmark is. And so making it clear what they are, how they'll be controlled is an important first step.

I think it's time for Speaker Pelosi to join with House Republicans, you know, in having this moratorium until we can solve this problem.

MS. MACCALLUM: All right. And we're going to also hear about the stimulus package and Iraq and a lot of other important items tonight.

We're a little bit short on time, Congressman. Thank you very much. The House minority leader, John Boehner, it's good to have you here, sir.

REP. BOEHNER: Thank you, Martha.

MS. MACCALLUM: Thank you.

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