WASHINGTON -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) may have said he has no plans to impeach President Barack Obama, but his Democratic counterpart, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) dared him Wednesday to go one better and declare that impeachment is "off the table" -- which is what she did when George W. Bush was president.
"When I became Speaker and people clamored for the impeachment of the president, I said what I advise the speaker to say right now: Impeachment is off the table," Pelosi said in a House floor speech as members debated suing Obama. "This isn't about impeachment. That simple sentence will be a clear one. 'Impeachment is off the table.'"
Pelosi noted that there are Republicans in Boehner's caucus who think impeachment is on the table. She suggested that Boehner, in spite of his denial on Tuesday, is also leaving the possibility open to satisfy the more extreme elements in his party, and pushing a lawsuit against the president just before the August recess to keep them satisfied.
And if Boehner really believes there will be no impeachment, she emphasized, he should do what she did when she disappointed liberals who wanted to impeach Bush for misleading America into the Iraq war.
"Why would you sue somebody unless you want to prove something? And why would you go down that path unless you wanted to do something about it?" Pelosi said.
"If we want to talk about the lawsuit, it behooves the Speaker of the House to say impeachment is off the table. I hope we can hear that soon, and then we can see what the merits of this case are," Pelosi said. "If you don't want to hear people use impeachment, as your people have done, then tell them impeachment is off the table. That's what I had to do. That's what the speaker should do."