President Obama has accepted House Speaker John Boehner’s request 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.
he president 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, and told GOP members during a conference call that he’d invite Obama to speak on Thursday, Sept. 8. 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.
Sources familiar with the conference call also said Boehner explained that a joint session is a difficult procedure to pull off in a short time.
“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.”
TheÂ White House had insisted the timing was coincidental. Press SecretaryÂ 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.”
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