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Obama: Speaker Boehner Is 'A Patriot' (VIDEO)

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Sipa USA / SIPA USA-KT/SIPA

"He always conducted himself with courtesy and civility with me," Obama said. "He has kept his word when he made a commitment. He is somebody who has been gracious, and I think most importantly he is someone who understands that in government, in governance, you don't get 100 percent of what you want, but you have to work with people you disagree with, sometimes strongly, in order to do the people's business."

Obama said the news of Boehner's departure "took him by surprise", but that he called he speaker after learning about his resignation on Friday morning.

He said he will not "prejudge who the next speaker will be," but hopes that Boehner's replacement will be open to compromise. He said the next speaker should understand the importance of keeping the federal government open.

"There's no weakness in that," Obama said. "That's what government is."