-By Warner Todd Huston
President Obama wants to give us his jobs plan. Yeah, three years after he got elected saying he was all about jobs. It isn’t the speech that is important, here, though — he won’t say anything new or important in it. It is the fact that he’s trying to bury the GOP debate that is being held on the same night he suddenly wants to issue his speech. This is childish, one-upmanship of the highest order.
Worse, when his press mouth, White House Press Sec. Jay Carney, was asked about the date question, Carny haughtily told the GOP to go ahead and change the timing of the debate they had scheduled months ago.
Obama suddenly announced today that he wants to appear at a joint session of congress so that he can present his jobs plan. He then announced, without fully confirming the date with congress, that the date of the speech would be September. Sept. 7, of course, is the date that the next GOP debate had been scheduled for, a date that had been announced many months ago.
This was simply nothing more than Obama’s attempt to overshadow the GOP debate, take viewers away from it, contribute to preventing Americans from learning more about the GOP candidates, and to upstage the GOP so that the focus can be on him and not the Republicans.
As Mark Knoller of CBS News notes on his Twitter account, “Usually, the White House will work out a date in private with the Speaker & Majority Leader before going public with a request”
Obviously the White House did not fulfill this normal procedure before making his announcement.
House Speaker John Boehner has sent a counter offer to the president saying that since congress is only coming into session late on Wednesday the 7th, that there simply isn’t enough time to have the standard security sweeping of the chamber before the president arrives. Boehner offered to have the joint session on the next day, Thursday the 8th.
The fact is the White House did not observe protocol and clear the date before announcing the date. That is the issue. Boehner has sent his reply asking for a different date. But clearly Obama did not make sure of what was going to happen before he announced like all other presidents have.
There is a reason for this protocol, too. The president does not have the power to compel congress to a joint meeting. He may only request such and have congress grant his request. This means he must work with the Speaker’s office first to get a date set before announcing it. Obama did not do this.
This is simply a political powerplay by Obama. He asked for the date, the immediately advertised it so that when Republicans could object Obama could then claim that it is the GOP trying to be the obstructionists. Obama knew full well that picking the date of the GOP debate was wrong. But he’s playing childish games with this.
It is sad when a president can’t take a few minutes out of campaign mode to be a president.