Vice President Joe Biden and former House Speaker John Boehner shared the stage at Notre Dame University’s commencement ceremony Sunday where they both spoke on the current negative state of politics.
Biden and Boehner, who are both Catholics, were each awarded the 2016 Laetare Medal, the oldest and most prestigious honor at the catholic university.
Biden joked that while he didn’t like Boehner – the two were often on opposite sides over issues like Obamacare and government spending – he “loved him.”
Boehner, for his part, said it was an honor to share the stage with the vice president.
Notre Dame’s President Rev. John I. Jenkins, said the university chose to give the prestigious award to the two politicians from different sides as a comment on the current political environment “where poisonous invective and partisan gamesmanship pass for political leadership.”
“It is a good time to remind ourselves what lives dedicated to genuine public service in politics look like. We find it in the lives of Vice President Biden and Speaker Boehner,” he said in a statement.
Biden, who didn’t cite any specific politicians in his condemnation, said while politics has long been a full contact sport, “it has recently become a blood sport full of invective,” adding that he has “not seen it like this” in his career.
“We used to treat each other with respect,” Biden told the audience in South Bend, Indiana. “John (Boehner) and I aren’t old school. We’re the American school … progress only comes when you deal with your opponent with respect. Listening as well as talking.”
Boehner said while he and Biden disagreed with each other frequently, they found success in compromising in certain areas without having to sacrifice their beliefs.
“Politicians these days are constantly being pushed to promise the impossible and this being a presidential election year, you’ve been hearing a lot of impossible promises,” Boehner said. “But governing isn’t about promising the impossible. Governing in its essence is the art of the possible. Governing requires us to look for common ground where it can be found without compromising our principles.”