The Ohio Republican declined an invitation from President Barack Obama to join him in welcoming Hu with the White House's "most lavish party."
Apparently, Boehner doesn't want to wine and dine with the president. The snub marks the third consecutive Obama-thrown State Dinner that Boehner will skip, including receptions for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mexican President Felipe Calderon. Not to mention, Boehner recently passed on an invitation to fly to the Tucson memorial service on Air Force One, electing instead to stay in Washington to attend a prayer service at the Capitol and a benefit for Maria Cino, a candidate to chair the Republican National Committee.
So although Obama and Boehner might be "more alike than you think," they can't seem to get it together for a little dinner party.
The speaker's spokesman Michael Steel says Boehner will meet privately with Hu on Thursday, but does that make up for the State Dinner snub? Surge Desk offers a quick opinion roundup to help digest Boehner's dinner decision.
A former Republican White House social secretary, who requested anonymity, told Politics Daily:
"I hate to think it would be pettiness: 'I don't like the president so I am not coming.' I think you can assume that the administration, when they have a state dinner, wants to show a bipartisan face" to foreign leaders.MSNBC's "First Thoughts" blog asks if the appearance is part of Boehner's job description.
"On turning down the ride on Air Force One, Boehner was tending to duties as speaker -- a bipartisan prayer service, for example -- that kept him from jumping on that flight. And it's also true that Boehner rarely, if ever, attends state dinners. But the question becomes whether the speaker, who's second in line in presidential succession, has a greater responsibility to appear at these kind of events."The New Yorker's Evan Osnos thinks that there may be something in the food.
"Invitees usually find it within themselves to shelve their political misgivings -- 'You have to be really sick, dead or dying not to attend,' Anita McBride, Laura Bush's one-time chief of staff said recently -- but Speaker of the House John Boehner does not agree. He is skipping dinner, just as he skipped dinners for Mexico and India, saying through aides that he's not fond of formal affairs. Perhaps Boehner is simply not an adventurous eater, but he should be assured that the menu usually leans toward American cuisine. The Clintons served chilled lobster and pepper-crusted Oregon beef at the 1997 dinner for Jiang Zemin."The folks on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" also weighed in on Boehner's choices:
The Faster Times contributor T.R. Donoghue is just looking out for "Meet the Press" host David Gregory, who's 6 feet, 5 inches tall:
Boehner to skip state dinner? More room at the table for David Gregory!
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