Here’s a PDF of the letter requesting that the speech be postponed until Thursday. The reason given: Logistical difficulties, not the fact that The One’s being a jackass by trying to preempt the GOP debate. But here’s the punchline, via John McCormack:
NFL season starts next Thursday 830pm ET, Packers vs. Saints.
Your move, champ.
Meanwhile, via Mediaite, enjoy the clip below as the flack-in-chief cheerily lies through his teeth and then suggests that if Republicans have a problem with the timing, they can go right ahead and reschedule their debate — which has been set for months — in order to accommodate His Highness. You know what the worst part of this little power play is? It’s not that O is so petty that he’d try to bigfoot his competition. That can be excused, sort of, on “politics ain’t beanbag” grounds. It’s not that his jobs plan won’t do much to help or that everyone — everyone — knows that the speech will reek, filled as it’ll surely be with the usual tedious bromides from the “adult in the room” about how mean Congress is, etc. By now, expectations for Obama are so low that it’s almost impossible for him to disappoint. It’s not that doing this is actually quite stupid politically, since it risks turning the GOP debate from a Perry/Romney/Bachmann free-for-all into a free-fire zone for attacks on Obama’s economic plan. Said one Democratic consultant, “It’s a bad idea [and] seems a little small. And it suggests perhaps his jobs plan wont be that appealing because now the coverage will be about the strategy and not the substance.” It’s not even that he’s suddenly demanding the gravitas of a joint session, signaling a crisis of utmost national urgency, after having jerked around on this singularly important issue for two and a half years. Better late than never, I guess.
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.
Update: Like I said: Pathetic.
Usually, the WH will work out a date in private with the Speaker & Majority Leader before going public with a request.
Update: From Fox’s Ed Henry, I’m curious to see the GOP’s response to this:
WH official says “Boehner’s office was consulted about the 9/7 date before the letter was released. No objection/concern was raised”
Update: Here’s that response now:
Boehner office says White House ignored protocol: “No one in the Speaker’s office…signed off on the date the White House announced today”