John Boehner '60 Minutes' Interview: Future Speaker Moved By 'American Dream' (VIDEO)

John Boehner Moved By 'American Dream'

With the clock running out on the Democratic majority in the House, "60 Minutes" took some time to look at what makes incoming Republican Speaker John Boehner tick.

Poised to become second in the order of Presidential succession, Boehner came from humble beginnings. The second oldest of twelve siblings, he grew up in a small home with a single bathroom and started working in a bar owned by his dad at around 10 years old.

Boehner met his wife, Deborah, while emptying her trash as he worked to pay for college. "He was a janitor on the night shift when I met him," she recalled.

Now, "I'm a regular guy with a big job," he told CBS's Lesley Stahl.

The interview spends some time examining "the sob heard 'round the world" from Boehner's speech after last month's midterm elections.

"I think you probably found out by now, I'm a pretty emotional guy," he reflected. "There's just some things that trigger real emotions. I was trying to talk about the fact that I've been chasing the American Dream my whole career." Boehner started to well up again.

The future Speaker had trouble speaking at other points in the interview, too. "I don't take myself very seriously, but I take what I do very seriously," he said before choking up another time. "Making sure that these kids have a shot at the American Dream like I did is important."

Stahl tried to comfort him: "I want to hold your hand!"

In an additional web segment, Stahl said that being in touch with his emotions is "central" to the GOP leader. "It's full-bore crying. It's not just little tears. It's really crying and he does it a lot." She predicts that people will like him as a result.

It may be most surprising to learn that Boehner's family were Kennedy democrats, and that the future speaker describes himself as "really good friends" with the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.

But despite a couple good omens for bipartisanship, Boehner opens the interview by focusing on the differences he has with President Barack Obama. When asked about Republican approaches that have disrespected the president, Boehner shot back that Obama showed disrespect in the other direction by referring to the GOP as "hostage takers" during the battle over extending the Bush tax cuts.

And while expressing an interest in "common ground," Boehner refused to entertain the idea of compromise. "I reject the word," he said. Elsewhere in the interview, Boehner added, "I made it clear I am not gonna compromise on my principles, nor am I gonna compromise the will of the American people."



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