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Boehner: Bush would have punched Putin
01:20 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Boehner criticizes President Obama's response to Russian takeover of Crimea

He says it wouldn't have happened when Bush was president

Bush's response was criticized when Russia invaded Republic of Georgia in 2008

Davenport, Iowa CNN  — 

House Speaker John Boehner is trashing President Obama’s foreign policy on the campaign trail by talking up someone Republicans have spent years running from: George W. Bush.

“Does anybody think that Vladimir Putin would have gone into Crimea had George W. Bush been president of the United States? No!” Boehner asked, and answered, before a group of Republican volunteers here.

“Even Putin is smart enough to know that Bush would have punched him in the nose in about 10 seconds!” Boehner said to an applauding crowd.

Rep. John Boehner often uses colorful language to slam the President for his leadership.

Boehner often uses colorful language to slam the President for his leadership, especially on national security.

But to invoke Bush is unusual, especially since his foreign policy decisions – namely the Iraq war – led to a clean Democratic sweep in 2006. Democrats took control of both the House and Senate in Bush’s sixth year in office.

Boehner is also engaging in revisionist history of sorts, since Putin did in fact invade another former member of the Soviet Union and key U.S. ally, the Republic of Georgia, in 2008 when Bush was president.

Bush did not punch either Putin or then-Russian Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev in the nose. In fact, Bush was criticized at the time by some for not reacting more forcefully against Russia.

As for Boehner – he reacted in a bipartisan way back then – releasing a joint statement with then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other leaders in both parties “condemning – in the strongest possible terms – the recent invasion of the sovereign state of Georgia.”