President Barack Obama praised Speaker John A. Boehner as a patriot Friday and said he hoped his successor realizes they shouldn't shut down the government or risk a financial crisis.
"I just heard the news as I was coming out of the meeting here, so it took me by surprise and I took the time prior to this press conference to call John directly and talk to him," Obama said of Boehner's resignation announcement. "John Boehner is a good man. He is a patriot, he cares deeply about the House, an institution in which he's served for a long time. He cares about his constituents and he cares about America. "We have obviously had a lot of disagreements and politically we're at different ends of the spectrum, but I will tell you that he has always conducted himself with courtesy and civility with me. He has kept his word when he made a commitment. He is somebody who has been gracious and I think, maybe most importantly, he's somebody who understands that in government — in governance, you don't get 100 percent of what you want, but you have to work with people who you disagree with, sometimes strongly, in order to do the people's business."
Obama Calls Boehner 'A Good Man'
Obama, who was speaking at a joint news conference with Chinese President Xi Jinping, said he won't prejudge who the next speaker will be.
"I will certainly reach out immediately to whoever is the new speaker to see what his or her ideas are and how we can make progress in the important issues that America faces," he said. "The one thing I will say is that my hope is there's a recognition on the part of the next speaker, something I think John understood even though at times it was challenging to bring his caucus along, that we can have significant differences on issues but that doesn't mean you shut down the government."
He noted that Boehner's planning on sticking around for another month and he hopes they can get as much done before he leaves as possible.
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