Obama caves to Boehner's wishes, now will deliver speech to Congress on same night as NFL openerBY Joseph Straw, Bill Hutchinson and Thomas M. Defrank
September 1, 2011
WASHINGTON - President Obama has postponed an urgent economic speech to a joint session of Congress by 24 hours - avoiding a clash with the GOP but creating one with the NFL.
The White House had initially scheduled the prime-time speech for next Wednesday, which would have gone up against the Republican presidential candidates' debate.
Obama agreed Wednesday night to address Congress next Thursday after Republicans accused him of trying to upstage the GOP contenders for his job.
While the decision appeased Republicans, it forces him to go up against the season opener of the NFL.
It was not clear Wednesday night if the NFL would delay the 8:30 p.m. kickoff of the game between the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints on NBC.
"The President is focused on the urgent need to create jobs and grow our economy, so he welcomes the opportunity to address a joint session of Congress on
Thursday ... and challenge our nation's leaders to start focusing 100% of their attention on doing whatever they can to help the American people," White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.
The decision to delay the address followed a standoff between House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and the White House and prompted a chorus of boos from some GOP presidential hopefuls.
Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.) accused the White House of creating a "stunt."
"First of all, he has to be invited by the House and Senate. He should have spoken to John Boehner and Harry Reid first," King said.
"The President almost had to back down. It also conflicts with a major Republican debate, which is bad form. It's not like it was 9/11 or Pearl Harbor. He didn't have to speak that night. It was bad form - bad politically, bad governmentally, bad every which way. I don't know what he was thinking of."
Democrats were giddy that Obama seems prepared to scold Republicans to their face for opposing his efforts to get the economy back on course.
"About time he calls them out for the obstructionists they are," a senior party strategist said. "He needs to remind voters who say they want something done that the other party has stood in the way ever since he was elected."
The same strategist called Boehner's move "incredibly disrespectful."
Carney said the speech will underscore the urgency of creating jobs to stimulate the economy.