01/07/2011 08:47 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

John Boehner Answers Questions On Smoking, Tendency To Get Emotional

The newly installed speaker of the House admits he's a smoker and that he sometimes gets emotional, and he isn't apologizing for either.

Rep. John Boehner told NBC in an interview that aired on Thursday night, "It's who I am."

The veteran Ohio Republican, who was sworn in this week to succeed Democrat Nancy Pelosi, was asked about talk that he's too inclined to tear up on occasion. Asked about this by interviewer Brian Williams, Boehner replied, "There are some things I feel really strongly about."

Asked what he does for strength, Boehner said he prays.

"I pray from the moment I wake up, I may pray all day long," he said. "Because it's, you can't do this by yourself. Can't do it."

Boehner confirmed he smokes cigarettes, saying "it's a bad habit." He said a lot of people tell him to quit, but "I am who I am." Here's an excerpt of the exchange:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Personal question. You're a smoker. And not just a smoker, you're a pretty committed smoker. I've got one in my own family. We all know 'em. Do you think it's fair game as a topic given smoking's prominence in the health care debate? Or do you think it should be nobody's business and a matter of personal privilege for you?

JOHN BOEHNER: Well, it just is what it is. That's my take on it. You know, it's a bad habit. I wish I didn't have it. But I have it.

The newly-minted House Speaker declined to say what federal program should be the first to be cut in the interest of slashing the deficit.