Democratic strategist James Carville, who famously coined the phrase, "It's the economy, stupid," would be proud of House Speaker John Boehner today.
During his weekly press conference on Capitol Hill Thursday, reporters tried five different times to get Boehner to discuss President Obama's newfound support of gay marriage. But despite their efforts, Boehner never took the bait.
Instead, all they got was an earful about, jobs, jobs, jobs.
Here's how it went down:
[The Scene: House briefing room in the U.S. Capitol Building. Dozens of reporters seated facing an empty lectern. Aide emerges from a back room and yells, "Heads up!" Boehner enters stage right, delivers brief remarks, opens the floor for questions.]
Reporter: Mr. Speaker, on gay marriage, Leader Pelosi and several other Democrats say you're on the wrong side of history on this issue. Do you think this is a civil rights issue?
Boehner: "I believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. And the president and the Democrats can talk about all this all they want. But the fact is, the American people are focused on our economy, and are asking the question, Where are the jobs?"
Reporter: So you don't think it's a civil rights issue at all?
[Boehner ignores follow-up, moves on to next question about the "War on Women." Then back to gay marriage.]
Reporter: Mr. Speaker, the president's announcement yesterday, his support for gay marriage, has a lot of conservatives trying to figure out how to weave it into the campaigns this year. How big of a role would you like to see that issue take in this election cycle?
Boehner: "The president can talk about it all he wants. I'm going to stay focused on what the American people want us to stay focused on, and that's jobs."
Reporter: Mr. Speaker, a couple of your colleagues have now passed at the committee level, a ban on gay weddings at military bases, and there are some restrictions now on the bill toward spending on DOMA [Defense of Marriage Act.] Are there steps you want to take?
Boehner: "Well there are a lot of members who have ideas about what's important to them, and you see those items advanced here every day. The American people are concerned about our economy. They're concerned about jobs. That's why, as you've seen us focused over the last year and a half on jobs and cutting spending, because our debt and deficit are like a wet blanket hanging over our economy. So we're going to continue to stay focused on what the American people want us to stay focused on.
Reporter: Mr. Speaker, a top Romney adviser said they plan to make gay marriage a major campaign issue. ... Do you agree with that?
Boehner: "I'm gonna stay focused on jobs. Thanks."
[Boehner exits. Scene.]
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