White House exaggerates Boehner's tax cut stance

Bob Schieffer questions Republican leader John Boehner.
Bob Schieffer questions Republican leader John Boehner.

House Republican Leader John Boehner, made headlines on the Sept. 12, 2010, edition of CBS' Face the Nation with his comments about a limited extension of George W. Bush-era tax cuts.

During the show, host Bob Schieffer asked the Ohio Republican to elaborate on his approach to extending a series of tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush that are set to expire at the end of this year. President Barack Obama and key Democratic leaders are seeking to renew the tax cuts for Americans earning below $200,000 (for single earners) and below $250,000 (for married couples). By contrast, Republican leaders, including Boehner, have consistently called for renewing the tax cuts for all taxpayers, regardless of income. (Some Democrats have said they would side with the Republicans, at least for the next year or two.)

Schieffer pressed him on whether he would be willing to vote for the more limited Democratic approach. "If the only option I have is to vote for some of those tax reductions ... I"ll vote for them," Boehner responded. "But I"ve been making the point now for months that we need to extend all the current rates for all Americans if we want to get our economy going again and we want to get jobs in America."

The White House pounced on Boehner's comment and suggested he had flip-flopped.

In a one-sentence statement issued later that afternoon, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, "We welcome John Boehner's change in position and support for the middle class tax cuts, but time will tell if his actions will be anything but continued support for the failed policies that got us into this mess."

We thought it would be worth checking whether Boehner's statement represented a "change in position." We found that was a bit of a stretch.