Speaker Boehner Debunks His Own "Blank Check" Lie

July 26, 2011 4:16 pm ET — Alan Pyke

In his hurry to rebut President Obama in prime time last night, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) tripped over his own feet. By decrying the once-routine process of "clean" increases in the debt ceiling as "a blank check," the Republican leader indicated he either fails to grasp how the debt ceiling works or he is a liar. In an interview today with Rush Limbaugh, the Speaker proved that it's the latter.

After compounding last night's mistake by telling Limbaugh that Obama "wants a $2.4 trillion blank check," Boehner spelled out exactly why his own talking point is false. "The debt ceiling is about debts that America has already incurred, obligations that we've already made," he explained. "It's like you're going up and buying something on your credit card: You're obligated to pay for it," he added, describing what he called "the moral obligation of our government to meet its debts."

RUSH LIMBAUGH: And of course the vast majority of people that voted last November actually want the debt ceiling lowered. That's what this is about, they want it lowered, they want spending really reduced, 'cause we don't have the money, we can't afford it, they're worried about their kids' futures.

BOEHNER: Let's separate the two issues, Rush. The debt ceiling is about debts that America has already incurred, obligations that we've already made. It's like you're going up and buying something on your credit card: You're obligated to pay for it. And these debts have already been incurred, and frankly I think it's the moral obligation of our government to meet its debts. Having said that, it is time— you know, if you're charging more than what you can afford, it's time to start spending less.

Listen:

In other words, Boehner knows full well this is about our credit card bill, not our checkbook. This is the second time in a week that the Speaker of the House has called in to Rush, but his pandering to the right isn't going well.

A few hours after Boehner debunked his own lie, the Speaker's big plan for avoiding a default crisis has been rejected by conservative groups from FreedomWorks to Americans for Prosperity to the Club for Growth, as well as Boehner's supposed ally, Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH). A GOP Speaker of the House is supposed to use Rush Limbaugh to martial his forces and move the debate in his preferred direction. Instead, John Boehner's disagreeing with himself on the air as the professional right lines up against him, and all the while the American economy drifts closer and closer to disaster.

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