WASHINGTON — The Republican leader who hopes to become the next speaker of the House assailed White House economic policies Tuesday in a speech that was met with a swift, coordinated attack from Democrats that resembled the rapid-response perfected during Obama's presidential campaign.
Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, called for firing the treasury secretary and repealing parts of the health care law in a speech that began to give shape to a party agenda as Republicans hope to take over the House this fall.
In response, Democrats unleashed Vice President Joe Biden for a rebuttal that cast Boehner's priorities as a return to the Bush administration policies that led to the economic crisis.
Boehner, the House minority leader, is increasingly positioning himself to oust Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., if Republicans take control of the House this fall.
"It's time to put grownups in charge," Boehner said in a speech at the City Club of Cleveland.
He called on Obama to extend the expiring Bush administration tax breaks, including those for the wealthiest American families making more than $250,000 annually, which the president has sought to repeal.
Boehner's speech did not lay out a blueprint for governing, something Republicans say will come next month. Instead, the 10-term Ohio lawmaker listed steps Obama should take, including firing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers.
Democrats hit back even before the GOP leader delivered his speech, releasing a video reminding voters that Boehner once handed out tobacco funds from lobbyists on the House floor, something Boehner since has said was a misstep. Democrats sent an e-mail soliciting $5 donations to a "Stop Boehner" fund to keep the House in Democratic control.
The White House also dashed off a note to reporters, fact-checking the Republican leader's claims and backing up Biden's retort.
"Let's just review a little history here: For eight years before we arrived in the West Wing, Mr. Boehner and his party ran this economy and the middle class into the ground," Biden said Tuesday. "We've seen this movie before, Mr. Boehner. We've seen it before, and we know how it ends. The American people deserve something different and something better."