As a possible joust to the 2012 GOP contenders, President Obama is scheduled to address a joint session of congress on the same night as the next Republican debate set for September 7th. The White House has denied that the schedule was anything more than coincidence.

Report from ABC News:

President Obama has asked to address a joint session of Congress on September 7th at 8 p.m. (ET) to outline his much-anticipated jobs plan, the exact same time that Republican Presidential candidates are scheduled to participate in a televised debate. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said today that the timing was purely “coincidental.”

“The president committed to speaking next week after the Labor Day holiday and immediately upon Congress’s return, and there are a lot of factors that go into scheduling a speech before Congress, a joint session speech,” Carney explained at today’s White House press briefing. “There is no perfect time.”

“Obviously, one debate of many that’s on one channel of many was not enough reason not to have the speech at the time that we decided to have it,” he added.

What’s the solution? “There are many channels, there are many opportunities for people to watch the president, and obviously an opportunity for people to watch the debate, and I believe that, you know, the network involved here can decide how it wants to deal,” Carney said.

That network would be NBC, which now has to decide whether to air the debate, which is being held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., or the president’s remarks. The debate, co-hosted by Politico, is slated to air live on MSNBC.

The real crux here is the broadcast on NBC, not just MSNBC and CNBC. Obviously being on a broadcast network opens up tens of millions of viewers compared to a cable channel of a few million. There are, however, 3 debates scheduled in September so I can’t see how blocking out one debate is going to help the President in the long run if he is hoping to drown criticism.


President Obama has now agreed to move his speech to Thursday, September 8th at 7pm.

Report from National Journal:

After consulting with President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner has invited him to address a joint session of Congress at 7 pm EDT on Sept. 8.—and Obama has accepted.

Boehner’s office said Obama requested the 7 p.m. time slot, which will solve one programming problem while creating a time zone problem. A 7 pm start will allow Obama to avoid competing with pre-game coverage of the first game of the 2011 NFL season. The opening contest pits the defending Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers against the New Orleans Saints, who won the Super Bowl the year before.

But the pre-prime time start on the East Coast puts Obama on TV sets at 4 p.m. on the West Coast, where millions will be at work, in traffic coming home from work or retrieving children from post-school activities.

It appears to me at least that President Obama has lost this round. He could simply have decided to address the country at any time from the Oval Office or any location if he wanted to. This could happen Monday, Tuesday or any day of the week. The crux here is assembling Congress which is part of the optics of this speech. President Obama is attempting to scold the legislating body on the topic of jobs so appearing in the House Chamber is crucial for him.


  1. The rules for the GOP primary debate were released around August 22. Does the White House really think the American public is that dumb to think the request to go before congress was purely “coincidental”? If people truly believe this, should we really allow these people to vote.

  2. ** Removed by moderator

    Note: Personal threats or wishes of violence will not be tolerated here toward any politician or candidate.

    • If no one comes after him for treason they should probably udate the dictionary with the new definition for treason along with bigot and racist. The man invites our enemy to the WH and calls them our friend, he denies safety to Israel and he supports the efforts of the terrorist that brought our nation to its knees just 10 years ago. They took over a country and freed the high crime criminals whom will do what exactly? If they think they have a case against Dick Chenney then they definitely have one on Barry!

    • Could you use a little more profanity? It helps to discredit you even more than your opinions. Obama IS the problem but people like you aren’t showing it properly. You’re a disgrace.

  3. This debate has been scheduled for 6 months. Like a wedding, you have to reserve the hall, hire employees for various needs, candidates arrange their schedules, hotel bookings for area, tickets printed for attendees, etc.

    Obama is supposed to request to speak in front of congress and they arrange mutual schedules. It is an etiquette thing, and they were never consulted before the WH announced. Obama arranged this at the EXACT TIME, EXACT DAY knowing the presidential title means it will be pre-empted so the American people have no choice. He sounds more and more like his friend (and the one he said in his book he admires so much) Chavez.

    I AM ANGRY! We have no choice if it is pre-empted!

  4. Obama probably is taking ideas he has read from the candidates and claiming as his own before they can present them to the general public! WE KNOW he has NO new ideas! This is dictatorship taking over the networks whenever he wants exposure. I like Perry, but I will vote for ANYONE who runs against Obama!


  6. I am hoping people boycott his speech and he will get those ratings the next day. I think that would be just wonderful!

  7. The comments on this piece are hilarious! Are people in the States so ignorant of their own political arena, constitution and electoral system?! War crimes? Please! Supporting a NATO sanctioned and democratic rebellion (check your history books for J.F.Kennedy to see precedent and policy for this kind of action)and moving the Iraq and Afganistan transition forward are not war crimes (unlike waterboarding). The constitution was a compromise that fit into the times it was written and some of the Founding Fathers (Jefferson for example) believed it should be revised periodically in order to keep up with the needs of its citizens.

    In any case, in the age of mass and diverse communication a President elected due to hs knowledge and use of this, is not going to bother so much about 1 GOP debate which people can access in many ways.Also, just listening to the candidates trying to out-fundementalist each other is boring and depressing.

    • Democrats and liberals are hilarious in the fact that they have no morals or standards! Their “anything goes” has brought the American family morals and values down to it’s lowest point!! It is a shame that I have to explain to my child what a homosexual is before he is even in middle school or why he can not pray aloud at sporting events!! You may find “just listening to the candidates boring and depressing”, well Chumps, I find hope in listening to the candidates debate knowing that the Republicans and the Tea Party can take our Country back where Americans can be proud and have a Christian leader who does not make us look like fools going around the world apologozing to other Countries and leaders for us being Americans!! I pray for people like you!!

      • You and millions like you call yourselves Christians. You have no Idea who Jesus was or what he did . You have relied on the ravings of a sckizophrenic as a source of your beliefs. Sad and troubling that you think you should be able to impose your insanity on the rest of the country. It and you will surely fail.

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