Tag Archives: Rayburn

On Speakers and Presidents, Then and Now

By Jim Kuhnhenn
WASHINGTON (AP) — Dwight Eisenhower got along better with Sam Rayburn than with leaders of his own party. Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan would bury political differences after 6 p.m. Newt Gingrich felt snubbed by Bill Clinton on Air Force One.
Presidents and House speakers have a history of complicated relationships. President Barack Obama and Rep. John Boehner are adding their own chapter on the golf links Saturday, political opposites each trying to put a ball in the same hole.
Boehner, R-Ohio, and the president have a courteous, but not a social relationship. Their interactions are so businesslike that their decision to play golf together has been given significance far greater than it probably deserves.
While the president’s frequent golf outings occur outside the prying eyes of the press, journalists were promised at least a glimpse, and a chance to photograph, Obama and Boehner with their game faces on.
Past president-speaker relationships have been defined by specific moments.
O’Neill, D-Mass., and Reagan shared evening martinis at the White House and exchanged Irish tales. Rayburn, D-Texas, gave Eisenhower a heifer for the president’s Pennsylvania farm. Gingrich, R-Ga., complained that Clinton forced him to exit through the rear entrance of Air Force One during their 1995 trip to Israel for the funeral of assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

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