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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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March 20th, 2013
07:00 PM ET

Speaker Boehner talks about Syria, guns, and being #1 for 20 minutes

Speaker of the House John Boehner sat down with The Lead's Jake Tapper to talk about a wide range of issues, including Syria, gun control in the wake of Sandy Hook, and being the highest ranking official in the U.S. ... for about 20 minutes.

Syria

The White House has said that if Syria is using chemical changes, it would be a "game changer," and the administration would act accordingly. Speaker Boehner has said in the past that he was unhally with the lack of consultation congressional leaders were given before the U.S. acted in Libya. He says he is similarly concerned about potential action in Syria.

"I would hope that as the president is making his decision with what our reaction will be that he will in fact consult with the bipartisan leaders in the Congress, something that didn't happen before our involvement in Libya," says the Ohio Republican. "This is an important part of the process, and I would hope that he would reach out to the Congress so that we could be part of that process."

Gun Control

The speaker had a personal reaction to the issue of gun control, recalling the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

"It was awful, and our hearts go out to those who are the victims of Sandy Hook and these other mass shootings," said Boehner. "I would have hoped that the president would have focused on the bigger problem, you know, violence in our society."

The highest ranking official

On Tuesday President Obama was in the air, on his way to Israel. Vice President Joe Biden was also in the air, on his way back from Rome, making Boehner the highest ranking American official on American soil for roughly 20 minutes. He was, essentially, the president.

"No, i wasn't," said Boehner, with a smile. "I was the Speaker of the House."

The speaker did not seize the opportunity to, say, make everyone listen to polka, mandate free cigarettes, or start a happy hour.

"Just keep my eyes focused on my job."


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