Rep. Kristi Noem criticized House Speaker John Boehner for poor communications skills in a telephone town hall meeting Wednesday night.
Speaking to a reported audience of more than 15,000 South Dakotans, Noem took a question from “Peter from Sioux Falls” who said he was “kind of disgusted with Boehner.”
After Noem said “yeah,” Peter continued, saying he and his friends view Boehner as a failure on the issue of debt and deficit.
“We’re about done with him. The man hasn’t really led on this issue at all,” Peter said.
Peter then criticized proposals to give President Barack Obama a plan to raise the debt ceiling, after which Noem said, “I agree with you.” It’s not clear whether Noem was agreeing with just the debt ceiling argument or also with Peter’s criticism of Boehner as having failed to lead.
After Peter finished, Noem said she was also upset with Boehner — for alleged poor communication with the American public.
“And I’ll tell you I get just as frustrated with Boehner as you sound tonight, at times,” Noem said. “What bothers me is that we don’t get out there and tell the American people that the House has already passed these bills that extended all the tax rates. We passed the bill that replaced all the sequestration cuts, and identified where we needed to cut spending. We already did all that. But I never see him on TV saying that to people.”
Noem spent the past two years serving on the House GOP leadership team with Boehner, but announced after the November election that she wouldn’t try to stay in the leadership team for her upcoming term.
You can listen to the full exchange between Noem and Peter here. It’s almost five minutes long:
At the end, Peter encourages Noem to reach out to conservative talk show host Glenn Beck and his new TheBlaze network if she wanted a platform to “speak out on what’s going on over there.”
If you want to listen to a longer recording of the tele-town hall, I have a 27-minute recording of most of it as well, from which the above clip was excerpted. It was sent over by a reader. Click here for the full version.
After the jump is a full transcript of Noem’s exchange with Peter.
Peter from Sioux Falls: This is awesome. Thank you for having me on tonight. Last time I saw you was a couple months ago, when you went to the University Center, the auditorium here in Sioux Falls.
Rep. Kristi Noem: Oh, did you come to the town hall that we had there?
Peter: Yeah, I did.
Noem: Okay, good.
Peter: Yeah, this is really nice. I have to say that, of all our legislative ambassadors, you, Johnson and Thune, I like you the most.
Noem: Oh, well thank you. That’s a nice way — that cheers me up. We’ve got a lot of ugly stuff in politics these days, and I appreciate the encouragement.
Peter: That being said, those of us who try to pay attention and keep one ear our for what’s going on in Washington, from our humble abode here in South Dakota, we have no flipping idea what the Republicans are doing. We get a little tiny splurge, but that’s it! It’s nothing. We’re kind of like, what are you guys doing? I don’t know if it’s all, black market-style politics, which is really common out there, where you’ve got guys who talk to each other but it doesn’t really get outside —
Peter: — our nation’s capitol. We would just like a little more communication. And with that, we’re kind of disgusted with Boehner.
Peter: We’re about done with him. The man hasn’t really led on this issue at all. The House has the purse. Thank God that the Republicans have authority, and it’s the House, because the House has the power of the purse. Well, use it! Let the president know, ‘Hey buddy, when we have the purse strings, you can’t just roll over on us. And by no means should you extend that guy’s power. I’ve heard talk that maybe we should allow him to raise the debt ceiling — which is pretty much an unconstitutional power to begin with, but to let him have it? Ugh.
Noem: Yeah, I agree with you.
Peter: One more thing, Kristi, and this is personal to you. When you talk to Boehner again, whenever… let him know we don’t sell out anything less than freedom.
Peter: You can’t do it. This is the last straw, guys. You’re talking about the deficit, we have almost $17 trillion in debt, almost $60 trillion in nation debt. We’re not just drowning from the federal government, we’re all drowning from our personal junk.
Noem: Yeah, it’s true.
Peter: This is crazy what you’re putting us through, only talking about the deficit. 1.1 — oh, that’s very cute. It’s like if we went to an alcoholic and said okay, well, we’re not asking you to quite alcoholism. I know it’s destroying you, I know it’s destroying your family, you might not live another year. We’re just asking that you give up maybe some hard liquor, move to something less. It’s ridiculous!
Peter: This has been going on so long. I recommend that if you guys have any backbone, you have to fix the national debt problem, not just the deficit. Because they’re really one and the same.
Noem: Yeah. It’s not even good enough now to deal with our deficit, because it does nothing to start paying down the debt we’ve got. And I’ll tell you I get just as frustrated with Boehner as you sound tonight, at times. What bothers me is that we don’t get out there and tell the American people that the House has already passed these bills that extended all the tax rates. We passed the bill that replaced all the sequestration cuts, and identified where we needed to cut spending. We already did all that. But I never see him on TV saying that to people. The reason that we’re sitting here now, at the end of the year with nothing done, isn’t our fault, because we’ve already done all those bills. The reason is it’s because the president and the Senate have done nothing with them. That’s why we’re here, and I don’t hear that message getting told very much. We’ve got to make sure we do it, because the American people think that we’re out here sitting in a corner refusing to talk to each other.
Peter: Yeah, yeah. You’ve got to tell them again and again and again until your tongue falls out of your mouth.
Noem: Okay, I’ll do it.
Peter: One more thing, if you want to do better at communicating, if you’ve heard of Glenn Beck, he’s had real success lately with him and his news network he’s been building, TheBlaze. They’ve done a great job with some Republicans that wanted to speak out on what’s going on over there. If you’d contact him, I’m sure they’d take you.
Noem: Well, you have a good night. I guess I’m out of time, but I appreciate you being on the call.
Peter: Merry Christmas!
Noem: Yes, you too. Merry Christmas. We’ll talk to you later.
Noem: Good night.