Yesterday, House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) said that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is the “best thing that’s happened to the Pentagon in 25 years.” He said, “Let’s not take the problems in Iraq, the tough fight that we’re in there and blame it on anyone.”
Today on MSNBC, Boehner stood by his effusive praise for Rumsfeld. Asked whether he really believes Rumsfeld is the best the military has had in 25 years, Boehner said, “I think he’s done a marvelous job.”
In another appearance this morning on Fox News, Boehner repeated, “Let’s not take the difficulty we see in Iraq and blame it on Rumsfeld or anyone else.”
O’DONNELL: Let me ask you about how to win and what the strategy should be to win. You have a number of candidates, Sen. Mike DeWine in Ohio who says Secretary Rumsfeld should resign. You have Anne Northrup, a congresswoman, who says he should resign. Congressman Shays in Connecticut, a Republican, Congressman Steele — he isn’t a congressman, he is running for the Senate — he says Rumsfeld wouldn’t be my secretary of defense. And yesterday you said Secretary Rumsfeld is the best thing that has happened to the military in 25 years. Why?
BOEHNER: When you look at the transformation that has occured over at the Pentagon, a lighter, quicker force, it would not have happened without the leadership of Donald Rumsfeld.
O’DONNELL: What about the management of the war in iraq?
BOEHNER: The management of the war in Iraq is being handled by the generals on the ground. Gens. Casey and Abizaid are doing the best they can given the situation. You understand that the terrorists coming out of al Qaeda have made Iraq the central focus in their war with us, and they’re also out there stirring up sectarian violence. This is the central front, and to blame it on Rumsfeld —
O’DONNELL: But the best the military has had in 25 years?
BOEHNER: I think he’s done a marvelous job.