WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 10: House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) speaks at his weekly news conference on Capitol Hill, May 10, 2012 in Washington, DC. Speaker Boehner spoke on a number of topics but would not comment on gay marriage when asked.2 (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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Boehner: `I'm focusing on jobs, not gay marriage'

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WASHINGTON - House Speaker John Boehner says he's staying focused on jobs and the economy in the 2012 elections and not President Barack Obama's support for gay marriage.

The statement Thursday by the nation's highest-ranking elected Republican sends a strong signal to party activists in this high-stakes election year, in which the presidency and majorities of Congress are at stake.

Obama's stewardship of the economy is the issue that matters, Boehner said in response to questions about how prominently Republicans should play it on the campaign trail.

Republicans have been stung in the past over social issues, and many activists believe such matters are most useful for energizing the conservatives at the core of the party. The economy, on the other hand, is the top issue on voters' minds, according to polls.

Copyright Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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