President Obama has requested a joint session of Congress to address them on the issue of jobs creation. The time he chose for this speech is September 7th at 8 pm, which happens to be the exact same time as the next Republican Presidential primary debate.
While I agree jobs is the crisis of our time that needs to be addressed, his address isn’t so time sensitive that Obama can’t give it on the 6th, 8th, 9th, 12th, 13th, etc.
Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney, claims it is pure coincidence that the Obama administration happened to schedule this speech at the exact same moment as Rick Perry’s first primary debate performance. Carney suggested the Republicans re-schedule their debate for the night after Obama’s address. This suggests either the Obama administration is either extremely incompetent or just remarkably petty.
I sincerely hope it is not incompetence. If I thought the people running the White House were actually too stupid to check the TV guide website to find out what also might be happening at 8pm on September 7th before planning an important speech, I would honestly fear for this country.
So it is best to assume Carney is simply lying. This scheduling decision seems more like an incredibly petty move by the White House, designed to step on the Republican debate, and an attempt to prevent Rick Perry from being the big story the next day.
What makes this childish, passive aggressive act really ironic is that Obama will probably use the speech to call for more civility in Washington and ask for both sides to work together. But needlessly stepping on the other party’s important events isn’t how you actually go about promoting civility and encouraging cooperation.
Update – Speaker John Boehner has decided to elevate this into a battle for who can be the most petty by sending Obama a letter requesting he move his speech to Thursday the 8th.
This begs the question, did Obama’s people not privately have a quick talk with the Speaker’s office about scheduling before the administration made its public announcement? It seems not. If so that is a pretty good indicator of what little hope there is for true bipartisan cooperation on almost anything this year.