POLITICS

John Boehner On Putin Op-ed: 'I Was Insulted' (VIDEO)

Sep 12, 2013 | Updated Sep 12, 2013

WASHINGTON -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) didn't appreciate the advice offered in a New York Times op-ed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"I was insulted," Boehner told reporters Thursday when asked for his "blunt" reaction to the commentary, in which the Russian leader counseled President Barack Obama to back off bellicose talk about Syria.

Putin also argued that Obama and Americans generally should stop calling their country "exceptional."

"It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation," Putin wrote, apparently in response to Obama's use of that description during his Tuesday appeal to the public to support a strike on Syria.

"There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too," Putin continued. "We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord's blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal."

Asked to elaborate on his reaction, Boehner declined.

"I think that the president does foreign policy, and I've always believed by way of opinions I've probably already said more than I should have said, but you got the truth," Boehner said.

He did, however, cast aspersions on Putin's motives in speaking directly to Americans.

"There are a lot of ways I could describe this, but it's probably why I've suggested I have doubts about the Russians and Assad," said Boehner, who backs military intervention against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Another politician who backs a strike was even blunter than Boehner in his reaction to the Russian leader. "I almost wanted to vomit," Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said on CNN.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), asked about Putin's op-ed shortly after Boehner's comments, told reporters he didn't think it was aimed at exploiting the way Obama has handled the Syria situation.

"I think he's just looking for a chance to show off his Super Bowl ring," joked Reid, referring to accusations that Putin stole a Super Bowl ring from New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

Jennifer Bendery contributed reporting.

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