Boehner says he won't give up wine, cigarettes to be president

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said on Thursday he had no interest in running for the White House, declaring on NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" he was not about to give up red wine and cigarettes to be president.

Asked by Mr Leno whether he ever thought of running for president, Mr Boehner replied, "No. I like to play golf. I like to cut my own grass," said Mr Boehner, the top Republican in Congress. "I do drink red wine. I smoke cigarettes. And I'm not giving that up to be president of the United States."

Mr Boehner also told Mr Leno he and Democratic President Barack Obama "get along fine" despite their political differences. "But the country's gotten more partisan. So as a result the Congress has gotten more divided and there's less common ground," Mr Boehner said.

Asked by Mr Leno if the infighting in his own party was as bad as he had ever seen it, Mr Boehner said, "Oh, no," before adding with a smile, 'Well, maybe it is. It's bad." Since early 2011, Mr Boehner has fought with conservative Tea Party Republicans in the House, mainly over deficit-reduction tactics. The government shutdown in October further frayed relations with right-wing groups.

"The funny thing about the so-called infighting is we agree on all the goals," said Mr Boehner. "We think Obamacare is bad for the country. We think we shouldn't spend more than what we bring in. We think the president is ignoring the laws. It's all a fight over tactics. It's not over what our goals are."