Snub? Boehner Skips Third Obama Invite

Nope, say aides, he just doesn't like formal occasions
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2011 1:44 PM CST
Snub? Boehner Skips Third Obama Invite
House Speaker John Boehner takes part in a news conference on Capitol Hill Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Funny thing happens when you become House speaker: Everyone starts parsing your every move for hidden meaning. Such is the case with John Boehner's rejection of President Obama's invite to the state dinner tonight with Hu Jintao. For the record, that's the third official presidential invitation he's declined, including receptions for Indian and Mexican leaders, notes AOL News. Boehner also turned down Obama's invite to fly on Air Force One to a Tucson memorial service.

Boehner's aides say it's no big deal, that their boss just doesn't like formal dinners. But "the question becomes whether the speaker, who's second in line in presidential succession, has a greater responsibility to appear at these kind of events," writes MSNBC's First Read blog. Or maybe the dinner decision is more about international relations? Bloomberg notes that neither Harry Reid (who called Hu a "dictator" before backtracking) nor Mitch McConnell will show up, either, possibly a sign of Congress' tense relations with Beijing. In any event, Hu will visit Capitol Hill tomorrow. Click for more on the snub talk.
(Read more John Boehner stories.)

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