Coming soon to a left-wing blog near you: “He caved again.”
Here is a statement from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney:
“Today, the President asked to address the Congress about the need for urgent action on the economic situation facing the American people as soon as Congress returned from recess. Both Houses will be back in session after their August recess on Wednesday, September 7th, so that was the date that was requested. We consulted with the Speaker about that date before the letter was released, but he determined Thursday would work better. The President is focused on the urgent need to create jobs and grow our economy, so he welcomes the opportunity to address a Joint Session of Congress on Thursday, September 8th and challenge our nation’s leaders to start focusing 100% of their attention on doing whatever they can to help the American people.”
What was the plan here? I think maybe O was trying to bait Boehner or some other prominent Republican into getting angry so that he could point to it and run through his tired “adult in the room” shtick. That’s what this speech is about, after all — lecturing Congress in front of a national audience about how everything’s their fault, not his, in hopes that voters remember that next November. It almost worked too, sort of. Ron Paul was “weighing his options” on whether to object to the speech request and DeMint vowed that he’d try to block it in the Senate. Boehner played it the right way, I think, offering a logistical excuse instead of a political one to deny O a chance to whine about Republican obstructionism. As for the liberals whining that he “caved,” what was he supposed to do once Boehner said no to Wednesday? Just show up that night and start talking? Granted, he could have given the address from the Oval Office instead, but (a) that would defeat the key purpose of lecturing Congress to their faces and (b) the fact that he was forced to give the speech from a location he didn’t prefer would have only underscored his weakness. He’s better off accepting the offer for Thursday. Especially since now it gives him the chance to react to any GOP talking points from the debate the night before.
Exit question: Er, who’s going to watch this instead of the Packers/Saints game? Besides you and me, I mean.
Update: A good catch by New Yorker correspondent Ryan Lizza. Note in Carney’s statement that they’re now saying they merely “consulted” with Boehner’s office beforehand. Says Lizza, “‘Cleared’ officially downgraded to ‘consulted.’ So someone at WH anonymously passed along inaccurate information to several journos. Nice.”