Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"The timing was coincidental"? Yeah, right.

House Speaker John Boehner has asked President Obama to postpone his planned jobs speech by a day, after the White House announced Wednesday that it was scheduling the address for 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 Obama's letter to congressional leaders Wednesday, the president requested to speak before a joint session of Congress at the very same time.
The president, though, needs permission from congressional leaders in order to deliver the address. While House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi welcomed the president, Boehner said in a letter late Wednesday afternoon that he would like the president to pick a different time. He did not mention the debate. Since the House does not come into session until Sept. 7, with votes scheduled that evening, Boehner expressed concern about the time it would take to conduct the security sweep in time for a presidential speech.
"It is my recommendation that your address be held on the following evening, when we can ensure there will be no parliamentary or logistical impediments that might detract from your remarks," Boehner wrote.
Boehner's spokesman added in a statement that the White House ignored protocol by not first requesting a date from the speaker's office.
"It's unfortunate the White House ignored decades -- if not centuries -- of the protocol of working out a mutually agreeable date and time before making any public announcement," Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said.
A senior House Democratic aide called Boehner's office "childish" for asking the president to reschedule.
"The childish behavior coming out of the speaker's office today is truly historic," the aide said. "It is unprecedented to reject the date that a president wants to address a joint session of the Congress."
The White House had 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.
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