His Worshipfulness President Obama has announced his intent to speak to a joint session of Congress on September 7. No biggie, right?
Well, turns out that the GOP has a long-ago-scheduled debate at the Reagan Library that same night. And it will be Texas Gov. Rick Perry's coming out party. From the Houston Chronicle's "PerryPresidential" blog:
President Barack Obama will make his long-awaited speech about jobs Wednesday night to a joint session of Congress at the same time that the Republican presidential candidates are scheduled to debate at the Reagan Presidential Library in California.
While the debate isn’t the first Republican debate of the cycle, it is the first since Gov. Rick Perry entered the presidential contest, and polls have shown him taking a commanding lead in the race for the GOP nomination. Political observers have said that the debate could provide crucial insights into how Mitt Romney’s and Michelle Bachmann’s campaigns plan to deal with Perry’s surging candidacy.
In his letter to House Speaker John Boehner requesting the joint meeting of both houses of Congress, Obama wrote that he will unveil a series “bipartisan proposals” that Congress can take up immediately to “rebuild the American economy.”
However, with a presidential address to a joint session of Congress scheduled on the same night, at the same time, it’s likely that any press generated from the debate would be drowned out by the developments in Washington.
That's right -- the president could have asked for ANY date, and he chose the night of a Republican presidential debate.
Further confirming the view many Americans -- Left and Right -- have of this administration, White House spokesman (and Rachel Maddow look-alike) Jay Carney snidely offered that NBC had the president's "permission" to move the debate -- which was, remember, scheduled long before Obama the Magnificent declared he wanted to address the entire Congress:
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says the timing of the speech is not aimed at overshadowing the next Republican debate, which is cosponsored by NBC News and Politico, and is scheduled to air at the same time as the planned presidential address.
"It is coincidental," Carney said. "It is one debate of many [that will air] on one channel of many... [and] there are many other factors here" to consider when scheduling a major address from the president, he added.
Carney gave NBC his permission to reschedule the Republican debate so it doesn't conflict with the president's speech, saying "if the network so chose and the candidates so chose" to reschedule, "that would be completely fine with us."
Exit question (yes, it's rhetorical): Has President Obama proven Mark Halperin correct?
UPDATE (5:04pm): Allah sums this whole thing up perfectly:
The worst part is that, with the economy on the brink of a double-dip and consumer confidence falling off a cliff, this guy’s mind is still so preoccupied with the campaign that he can’t muster a moment of presidential leadership without counterprogramming it against a Republican primary event. He could have given this speech at any point. Six months ago, the day after the debt-ceiling deal was struck, last week, yesterday, today, tomorrow, the day before the Republican debate, the day after. Any of those would have been fine — the earlier the better, of course, given the magnitude of the problem — but that doesn’t occur to him because his own reelection is ever foremost in his imagination. We’ve known that for months, ever since he rolled out his horrendous budget that punted on entitlements so that he’d have a freer hand to demagogue the GOP, but in case you forgot, let this refresh your memory. If you could somehow promise him right now that he’ll get a second term no matter what happens with jobs, he’d tear the speech up and watch the Packers/Saints game himself. Pathetic.