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JAN
23
8 MOS

John Boehner to Jay Leno: I Like Cigarettes and Golf Too Much to be President (Video)

The speaker of the House makes his "Tonight Show" debut to talk divisive Republican politics -- and the real story behind that famous tan.

John Boehner Tonight Show - H 2014
NBC
John Boehner on "The Tonight Show"

Speaker of the House John Boehner used his Tonight Show debut to make it clear he doesn't have his eye on the presidency.

"Listen, I like to play golf.  I like to cut my own grass.  You know, I do drink red wine.  I smoke cigarettes. And I'm not giving that up to be the President of the United States," Boehner said after Jay Leno asked the Republican leader if he'd consider a White House run in 2016.

Boehner also told Leno about growing up as one of 12 children and working in his father's bar, saying it taught him everything he needed to know about politics.

"You grow up around a bar, I mopped floors, did dishes, waited tables, tended bar.  And you have to learn to deal with every jackass who walks in the door," Boehner said.

Leno also asked Boehner about his famous tan, which has long been the butt of many a late-night comedian's jokes. The Ohio congressman insisted it was the result of outside activity, not a tanning bed or spray.

"I cut my own grass, ride a bike.  You know, and I was ‑‑ my mother was dark‑complexioned -- so I'm a little dark," Boehner said.

Leno pressed on, jokingly: "So we're going to clear it up.  There's no tanning bed?"

Boehner, who has famously sparred with the Tea Party contingent of his own party, also addressed divisiveness amongst Republicans.

"Listen, I don't have any problem with the Tea Party.  Those people have brought great energy to the political process.  Most of them have never been involved before," he said. "You know, when you agree with someone 90 percent of the time, they're not your enemy."

Boehner also had some harsh words for Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom he called "a thug."

"I think he's treated his neighbors in a disrespectful way.  And, frankly, I think the President ought to stand up to him and better protect America's interests and our allies, especially in Eastern Europe."

The Tonight Show airs at 11:35 p.m. on NBC.