President Barack Obama has requested time to speak before a joint session of Congress on his jobs plan ideas — a request that if granted (it will be a major story if House Speaker John Boenher refuses his request) would plop him on the tube around when Republicans were to have a debate.
And, as CBS points out, some liberal commentators are already applauding the timing. From their point it’s smart. But from the standpoint of the general electorate, the timing could be a turn off to some voters who are weary of seeing people with Rs and Ds in front of their name turning everything into part of the ongoing 24/7 partisan and ideological battle. Time (and polls) will tell…but here is CBS’s take on it:
The White House says President Obama’s decision to schedule a joint session to Congress at the same time as a high-profile Republican presidential debate is merely a coincidence.
But others are not so sure.
Some liberal commentators are already applauding what they perceive as a strategic move to overshadow the GOP competition.
“THIS is the Obama I like: Jobs Address to Joint Session of Congress 9/7 8 pm – same hour as GOP debate #PreemptThemhttp://j.mp/pdIJzw,” liberal television commentator Keith Olbermann tweeted in response to the news.
RNC chair Reince Priebus suggested that the scheduling conflict was purely political.
“[email protected] request to give jobs speech the same night as GOP Presidential debate is further proof this WH is all politics all the time,” he said in a Tweet.
Indeed: if this was not the intent then the White House has bungled — handing GOPers a chance to say this is all political and not really about a jobs plan. And the White House?
Asked about the timing at his daily briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the timing was “coincidental.”
If you believe that, then let me tell you about a nice bunny who’ll come into your home around Easter and leave candy eggs...
“There’s one president, there’s 20-some-odd debates,” Carney said. “The candidates might enjoy the prospect of responding to the president.”
Carney is correct:
This could actually be a great opportunity for Republicans, one that would offset Obama nudging in on their news time: if Republicans respond to his speech a lot of sound bytes will be seen on the air showing various candidates.
And perhaps that was in the White House’s calculation: the President could give a speech and then there would be the contrast with Republicans (who will most likely say no to his proposals — which would help confirm Obama’s emerging campaign theme that Republicans are obstructionists to progress on economic recovery due to ideological inflexibility and politics).
“There are a lot of factors that go into scheduling a speech before Congress, a joint session,” he added. “You can never find a perfect time. … There are many channels, there are many opportunities for people to watch the president, and obviously for people to watch the debate.”
Hey: did I mention that bunny around Easter?
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.