President Barack Obama didn't mind moving the date of his major jobs speech before Congress to accomodate Republicans, and now he's planning to get it over in time on Sept. 8 so that it doesn't conflict with the season-opening NFL game that night between the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints.
I can assure all you football fans that he will be completed before kick-off, White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a briefing with White House reporters.
The game is set for 8:30 p.m. EDT kickoff -- and while a specific time hasn't been set for Obama's Sept. 8 speech, nationally television and before Congress, it will be over before the NFL season officially begins.
Obama had originally planned to deliver his speech on Sept. 7, but he bowed to a request from Republicans and moved the original date of his scheduled high-profile jobs speech.
Republicans are scheduled to hold a televised debate that same evening, at the same time of Obama's speech before Congress. So Republican Speaker of the House of Representative John Boehner asked Obama to address Congress on the next evening, Sept. 8.
The White House agreed, changing the date for Obama's high-profile speech before Congress. The White House says the original timing of the Republican debate and Obama's proposed speech, first announced in a letter to congressional leaders, was merely coincidence. Congress, currently out on recess, returns Sept. 6.
Both houses (of Congress) will be back in session after their August recess on Wednesday, September 7th, so that was the date that was requested, White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement. We consulted with the Speaker about that date before the letter was released, but he determined Thursday would work better.
Incidentally, however, in working with the Republicans, the president moved himself into a time slot that may hold less national appeal, and questions immediately arose of whether he would compete with the football game with his speech.
Typically, the NFL's prime time opening game draws a large audience. Obama has yet to determine the exact timing of his speech, and it's possible he could precede the NFL game, in the attempt to draw a larger audience. Regardless, Republicans were happy that Obama obliged their request, moving the date of his speech.
We appreciate the president working with us tonight and look forward to hearing his new proposals, Brendan Buck, a Boehner spokesman, told Reuters.
But while the date change is a small victory of sorts for the Republicans the big showdown will come after Obama delivers his high-profile speech. America's lingering unemployment problem is arguably the nation's greatest economic challenge and Obama's greatest re-election challenge.
Already Republican presidential candidates, including Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, have directly attacked Obama for a weak jobs policy in the post-recession economy. They say he has spent too much federal money without gaining meaningful results. Last month, Obama said that his upcoming high-profile speech will contain all-new initiatives, requiring leaders from both parties to get on board to solve America's unemployment problem.
Obama has sought the joint session of Congress for his high-profile speech to create a sort of State of the Union address atmosphere, in the effort to gain widespread support from both parties for the initiatives he will unveil. Controversy is sure to follow, however, since the initiatives are expected to come with a a price tag.
Therefore, the cost of Obama's proposals will liekly be a big concern for some lawmakers, considering the tone of recent debt ceiling negotiations over the United States' $14 trillion budget deficit.
Obama has said he will lay out a series of steps that Congress could act on quickly to strengthen small businesses and put more money in the paychecks of the middle class and working Americans, while also reducing the deficit.
A White House spokesman said Obama's speech before Congress will focus primarily on jobs, however, with detailed proposals on budget deficit reduction following at a later time. Reports suggest proposals from Obama are likely to include infrastructure spending, measures to help homeowners, and tax breaks to encourage hiring new workers.