President Obama has backed down from his plan to bump the Republican Debate so he can give yet another jobs speech, but the White House's explanation for what's now been dubbed "Speechgate" appears dubious to many.
Here are the facts: the Republican debate at the Reagan Library was scheduled for 8PM this coming Wednesday night and was set months in advance. The White House, however, decided to ask for a joint session of Congress to give a jobs speech (not a State of the Union, not a declaration of war) at the same time.
This morning on MSNBC, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney gave an after-action report on the White House's side of the story and brushed off any notion that the speech scheduling decision was a petty partisan stunt. Carney said of the White House's decision:
Our intention was merely for the president to address a joint session of congress as soon as possible upon congress’ return to the White House. Both houses will be in session on next Wednesday. We asked for that day. We contacted the speaker’s office. No objection was raised at that time. The letter went forward. The speaker came back later in the day saying there was a problem with that, logistical. That’s fine. We’ll go Thursday.
Carney topped off the eyebrow-raising monologue with "Americans are sick and tired of partisan bickering, the gridlock."
Watch the video of Carney's response here, courtesy of MSNBC:
Rush Limbaugh, however, isn't buying this whole ordeal as a coincidence. In advance of the MSNBC appearance this morning and the White House's capitulation, he got fired up on Wednesday after Carney gave a dismissive press conference discussing the schedule conflict. Rush ripped into Carney for what he believed are misleading statements made by the Press Secretary.
Rush pointed out that Obama had time for a two-week vacation on Martha's Vineyard this month, and 80 rounds of golf during his presidency. Rush simply refused to believe the pretense that the White House was acting out of earnest urgency with its jobs speech scheduling.
In response to Carney's glib denial of any partisan intent, Rush asked: "How much are you paid to lie to the American people, Jay?"
You can listen to Limbaugh's full rant on the White House's Speech-Gate stunt here, courtesy of Daily Rushbo: