November 1st, 2010
08:23 PM ET
(CNN) - He is poised to become the most powerful Republican in Congress if the GOP takes control of the House Tuesday.
And Rep. John Boehner's ramping up the rhetoric in anticipation, going after the president.
"We have a president in the White House who referred to Americans who disagree with him as 'our enemies,'" Boehner said Monday. "When Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush used the word 'enemy,' they reserved it for global terrorists and foreign dictators – enemies of the United States."
Boehner was commenting on a radio interview Obama conducted last Monday on the Spanish-language radio station where he said "If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, 'We're gonna punish our enemies, and we're gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us' – if they don't see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election – then I think it's going to be harder."
But on Monday Obama walked the comments back. In an interview with radio host Michael Baisden he said he probably should have used the word "opponent" instead of enemy.
However, that didn't stop Boehner from continuing his criticism of the president's word choice at a rally in Ohio for Rep. Rob Portman and Republican gubernatorial candidate John Kasich.
"He uses it for people who disagree with his agenda of bigger government," Boehner said. "Mr. President, there's a word for people who have the audacity to speak up in defense of freedom, the Constitution, and the values of limited government that made our country great. We don't call them 'enemies.' We call them patriots."
He also took the time to encourage voter turnout, which was accompanied with another little dig at the president.
"The president has been here a dozen times in the past year," Boehner said. "This is about President Obama trying to get reelected in two years. So if you want to send President Obama a big loud message, vote for John Kasich tomorrow."
–CNN's Xuan Thai and Dana Bash contributed to this report