POLITICS
07/21/2010 05:38 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Speaker Boehner? House Minority Leader Airs Personal Ambitions

House Minority Leader John Boehner has every intention of putting a new title on his business card come November.

The Ohio Republican said on Wednesday that winning back the 39 seats needed to control the House of Representatives would be difficult, but that he had every intention of becoming the next Speaker of the House.

"It's an uphill climb, but it is doable," he told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor lunch in Washington.

"As most of you know my goal for some time has been to be the Speaker of the House," Boehner said. "I think a lot of you know I go through a pretty extensive planning process with my staff every winter and we renew our vision, lay out our mission for the year, what our goals are, lay out our strategies for how we're going to accomplish those. Anyways, one day I was pushed by my staff as to what my goals are. I made it clear that I want to be the Speaker of the House."

Boehner declined to specify what exactly the Republican agenda would be for the next session of Congress but he promised "a smaller, more accountable government," and bemoaned the state of the federal deficit, vowing to cut spending by going through every line in the budget and asking: "Is this measure so important that we'd ask our children and grandchildren to pay for it?"

The House Minority Leader appeared to be trying out his stump speech in Wednesday's 40-minute interview with the media, explaining how he would run the House if he were in charge.

"I've watched the four speakers that I've served under," said Boehner. "I've seen the good qualities and I've seen the bad qualities. And I feel like I've got a pretty good handle on how I would do this job. Newt [Gingrich] used to have this management saying on the wall in his office -- 'Listen, Learn, Help And Lead' -- and it really encapsulates a management strategy that I've used for many years. Secondly, I grew up playing every team sport there is. I have 11 brothers and sisters who I had to get along with and so I've always been a consensus builder. Build a team. If you look at my staff operations over the years, we've built a team. You look at what I've tried to do over the years that I've been leader -- it's to build a team. And I have no doubts that I'll continue to work at building a team to deliver what the American people demand of us because I think it takes a team in order to get it done."

Boehner, an Ohio native who has risen through the ranks of Republican leadership since being elected in 1990, took the opportunity to slam the way the House currently does business under the leadership of the current House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi.

"The way the legislative process has been gerrymandered over the last ten years doesn't allow members to ever become legislators -- all they are is members. This is supposed to be the greatest deliberative body in the history of the world but there's very little deliberation -- there are very few legislators among the 435 members and I really think that members are being shortchanged. I came out of the Ohio legislature, a place where it was a legislature and you were taught and you learned how to become a legislator. And I think we need more legislators in the U.S. Capitol."

When questioned about how closely the Republican party's agenda would hue to the agenda of the Tea Party, Boehner said that while he did not join the congressional Tea Party Caucus, which debuted this morning, he thinks the grassroots party should not be dismissed.

"These people have been driven off their couch, they've been driven off their easy chair, driven away from their TV and into the streets of America to demonstrate against their own government," Boehner said. "Now people can dismiss this. They can laugh at them. They can mock them like some of my colleagues across the aisle have been doing, but I'm going to tell you what, these folks are the tip of the iceberg... They represent the same values, concerns, frustration, anger and fear, that you see from tens of millions of other Americans who aren't in the streets -- yet."

Watch Boehner's Tea Party comments below:

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