Sorry, Republican John Boehner Won't Be Your President Tonight

Obama and Biden are scheduled to both be out of the country at the same time briefly on Tuesday. But they'll still run the show no matter what.
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Reuters

For a brief spell on Tuesday night, both President Obama and Vice President Biden are scheduled to be out of the country at the same time. Obama is set to leave this evening for a trip to Israel and the Middle East, and Biden will be returning shortly thereafter from his trip to Rome.

That's led to some chatter online and on Twitter about "President Boehner," as if the third-in-succession would suddenly have control of the government because the No. 1 and No. 2 were off American soil simultaneously. But that's not how things work -- Boehner would only take up the reins of government if Obama and Biden were both somehow simultaneously disabled from performing their duties.

"The fact remains that President Obama is president of the United States everywhere he goes. Vice President Biden is vice president of the United States everywhere that he goes," White House spokesman Joshua Earnest told reporters at a briefing Friday. "There's no reason that that should in any way impact the day-to-day running of the country," he added.

Boehner will be the highest-ranking U.S. government official on U.S. soil, unless flight plans change -- but he still won't be able to get anything done. Partisan gridlock is partisan gridlock, whether Obama is on Air Force One or in the White House.

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Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic.

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