This week, House Speaker John Boehner raised eyebrows by turning down an offer to ride on Air Force One with President Obama and others headed to a memorial service in Tucson. Instead, he appeared at a reception for Republican operative Maria Cino. Now, on the heels of renewed calls for bipartisanship and toned-down political rhetoric, Boehner is saying “thanks, but no thanks” to another offer to appear at an event with the president – Wednesday’s White House state dinner.
The dinner, honoring the Chinese President Hu Jintao, will pull together leaders on both sides of the aisle, along with celebs, CEOs, Cabinet members, Supreme Court justices and media bigwigs.
A Boehner aide confirmed that the House speaker was invited to the dinner but will not be attending. Boehner also turned down invitations to the previous two state dinners held during Obama’s presidency, one honoring Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in November 2009, and the most recent state dinner honoring Mexican President Felipe Calderon in May 2010, the aide said.