By the Full Metal Patriot
Just a few weeks ago, President Obama gave some campaign speeches where he complained about partisanship, "Washington needs to put aside politics and start making decisions based on what is best for our country and not what is best for each of our parties in order to grow the economy and create jobs."
As Jim Geraghty says, “All statements from Barack Obama come with an expiration date. All of them.”
Obama's statement about “putting aside politics” expired today.
In an obvious move to co-opt the Republican Presidential Debate next week, Dear Leader has decided he wants to give a speech before a joint session of Congress…at the exact same time.
President Obama on Wednesday pulled rank on the Republican presidential candidates, announcing a key jobs speech next week on the same night as a GOP 2012 primary debate in California.
The two-hour debate, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, was supposed to start at 8 p.m. on Sept. 7. In his letter to congressional leaders Wednesday, Obama requested to speak before a joint session of Congress at the very same time.
Republicans quickly slammed the president for the move. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called it a "thinly-veiled political ploy."
"President Obama's decision to address Congress at the same time as a long-scheduled Republican Presidential debate cements his reputation as Campaigner-in-Chief," he said in a written statement.
A Reagan Library official, speaking to Fox News, says there is no official reaction yet from the organizers of the debate, but the event has been on the schedule for months. The Reagan Library is expected to issue a statement shortly. Politico, which is co-sponsoring the debate with NBC News, said the debate would not be postponed.
The White House insisted the timing was coincidental. Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters there were many scheduling "considerations" and suggested the president has no interest in detracting from the debate viewership.
He said the administration would "welcome" a decision by debate hosts to "adjust the timing of their debate so that it didn't conflict."
The Republican debate has been planned for months. Then, King Barry suddenly decides he wants to give a speech at the exact same day and time, and he expects everyone to believe it's merely a coincidence? Sorry, that doesn't fly. Besides, there's a big, glaring hole in his excuse:
Technically, the president must be formally invited by Congress in order to address a joint session and can't just show up.
And judging by House Speaker John Boehner's response, not only was Obama not invited, there were no plans for a joint session of Congress. And pulling one together at the last minute conflicts with their official business.
Obama has had over two and half years to focus on jobs, and he chose to ramrod his unwanted Obamacare plan down the throats of America instead. And now he's engaging in a petty power play. Even WaPo's Chris Cillizza notes, "Coincidences don’t happen in presidential politics. Ever."
“It’s a bad idea [and] seems a little small,” said one Democratic consultant granted anonymity to speak candidly. “And it suggests perhaps his jobs plan wont be that appealing because now the coverage will be about the strategy and not the substance.”
I think all of this is missing the larger picture. Obviously this scheduling conflict is George W. Bush's fault.
UPDATE: Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) has pledged to block Obama's speech.
Obama could learn something from the GOP, DeMint reasoned, in adding his voice — and his vote — to a growing chorus of Republican objections.
“The president should pick another night. I’m planning to watch the Republican primary debate … and the president should watch it, too.”
The iconic South Carolina conservative said. “If he has a jobs proposal, put it in writing, give us a cost estimate, and send it over. I want to read the bill, not listen to talking points off a TelePrompter. If he insists on playing politics by picking the night of the GOP debate, I will object to the session.”
A lone determined senator can tie the chamber in knots for days, and the House and Senate must both pass a concurrent resolution to allow for the president to speak to a joint session.
UPDATE: CBS News’ Mark Knoller tweeted that the White House is backing down.
Cross-posted at Full Metal Patriot