House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) says that President Barack Obama is "diminishing the presidency" by fighting for low student loan rates, a fairer tax structure and regulations on oil speculators.
"The president and I have a very good relationship," Boehner told CNN's Candy Crowley on Sunday. "And as a result, I try to avoid personal attacks on the president."
"The president is getting some very bad advice from his campaign team because he's diminishing the presidency by picking fights, going after straw men every day. You know, we had the Buffet rule. You know, it went on for months. Even the president admitted it was a gimmick. And then we had the Rose Garden ceremony talking about manipulation in the oil markets without one shred of evidence. And he has an entire administration to go after speculation or manipulation in the oil markets. And then they pick this student loan fight where there is no fight."
He added: "The president is bigger than this. The presidency is important. America has big challenges."
While both Republicans and Democrats agree low student loan rates should be extended, the White House said last week that the president would veto a GOP plan to pay for the measure by cutting a health care fund that benefits women.
"Women, in particular, will benefit from this prevention fund, which would provide for hundreds of thousands of screenings for breast and cervical cancer," a White House statement insisted. "This is a politically motivated proposal and not the serious response that the problem facing America's college students deserves."
But on Sunday, Boehner said it was "nonsense" that cutting the fund would diminish breast and cervical cancer screenings.
"There's no women's health issue here," Boehner remarked. "I'll guarantee you that they've not spent a dime out of this fund dealing with anything to do with women's health. What we're trying to do here is to deal with this problem in a responsible way."
Asked about recent attacks where he said Obama had "checked out," made the presidency "smaller" and "lost his courage," Boehner said he was just trying to be helpful.
"The president is getting some bad advice," the Speaker explained. "Somebody needed to help him out. So, I thought I would."