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Boehner on Ted Cruz: "I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life"

Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

Former Speaker of the House John Boehner really, really, really hates Ted Cruz. During a candid talk at Stanford University, Boehner unloaded on the Republican senator and presidential hopeful, comparing him to the devil.

The Stanford Daily's Ada Statler-Throckmorton reported:

When specifically asked his opinions on Ted Cruz, Boehner made a face, drawing laughter from the crowd.

"Lucifer in the flesh," the former speaker said. "I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life."

And if that didn't make the point quite sharply enough, Boehner — who described Donald Trump as a "texting buddy" — said he'd vote for Trump if he were the Republican nominee, but that he wouldn't vote for Cruz.

Boehner's dislike of Cruz is well-known, and deeply rooted. The Texas senator made his life miserable in office, exciting Boehner's caucus by championing government shutdowns and debt ceiling fights over Obamacare and Planned Parenthood. While Boehner strived for compromise with President Barack Obama to keep the government open, Cruz believed that compromise was surrender.

Boehner wasn't exactly secretive about this while he was in office. He called Cruz a "jackass" at a fundraiser — an insult he later repeated on Face the Nation. But saying that he wouldn't vote for Cruz in the (unlikely) event that Cruz becomes the Republican nominee is still a very strong statement from the man who was the highest-ranking Republican in office for most of the Obama presidency.

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