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John Boehner Used 'Catholic Guilt' to Convince Paul Ryan to Take House Speaker Job

by Tim Stelloh /  / Updated 

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Former House Speaker John Boehner said he convinced his replacement to take over his punishing job by laying "every ounce of Catholic guilt that I could on him."

In an interview on CNN, Boehner said that he told Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan that he had no choice in the matter.

"This isn’t about what you want to do,” Boehner recalled telling Ryan. “This is about what God wants you to do."

"Pulled the God card, huh?" replied the interviewer, Dana Bash.

"Oh, I pulled it all out," Boehner said. "Paul was the right guy. At the right time. I know he didn't want to do it. He kept telling me he didn’t want to do it. But it was obvious to me that he was the right person for the job."

Boehner’s comments come three days after Ryan was elected as the next speaker of the House, and a little over a month after Boehner — who was first elected to Congress in 1991 and served as speaker since 2010 — delivered the startling news of his resignation.

Weeks of tumult followed as various Republican lawmakers jockeyed for the job. Bohener’s expected replacement, House majority leader Kevin McCarthy, abruptly ended his bid for the speakership on Oct. 8 after mounting opposition from House conservatives.

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On "Meet the Press" on Sunday, Ryan said that he took on the job because he "really felt like our party needed to unify."

"We have to be the alternative party," he said. "If we don't like what's going on, we owe it to the people of this nation — to our constituents — a bold, specific and clear agenda, a vision, for how we would do things differently."

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