White House Equates GOP Debate with Animal Planet, Lays Down Gauntlet to GOP Contenders

Author: August 31, 2011 1:52 pm

AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari

Updated: Now that Obama will speak before both chambers of Congress at the same date and time as the next GOP presidential debate (Wed., Sept. 7 at 8pm ET), Republicans must decide whether to take the ratings hit and go on with the debate as planned – or shuffle out of the President’s way and reschedule the side-show circus known as the Republican Debate/Tea Party Tirade.

Not only that, but if the Republican debate does not get rescheduled, the debate participants who are current members of Congress (like Michele Bachmann) will have to choose between complying with the President’s directive to attend the joint session or let their true anti-government colors shine and go ahead with the debate appearance as planned.

When White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked by the press about the scheduling conflict he replied:

There will be more than 20 debates, but “there’s one president.” He said television viewers could decide what they want to watch, “whether it’s the — you know, the Wild Life Channel or the Cooking Channel.”

Asked if he was comparing Republicans to wildlife, he replied, laughing, “Maybe the Wild Life Channel.”

The letter Obama sent to congressional leaders to announce the Joint Session reads as follows:

“Our Nation faces unprecedented economic challenges, and millions of hardworking Americans continue to look for jobs. As I have traveled across our country this summer and spoken with our fellow Americans, I have heard a consistent message: Washington needs to put aside politics and start making decisions based on what is best for our country and not what is best for each of our parties in order to grow the economy and create jobs. We must answer this call.

“Therefore, I respectfully request the opportunity to address a Joint Session of Congress on September 7, 2011, at 8:00 p.m. It is my intention to lay out a series of bipartisan proposals that the Congress can take immediately to continue to rebuild the American economy by strengthening small businesses, helping Americans get back to work, and putting more money in the paychecks of the Middle Class and working Americans, while still reducing our deficit and getting our fiscal house in order. It is our responsibility to find bipartisan solutions to help grow our economy, and if we are willing to put country before party, I am confident we can do just that. Thank you for your consideration.”

I, for one, will be listening to the President come Sept. 7. May even write a post about it. Stay tuned.

Update: John Boehner has made the unprecedented move of trying to deny Obama’s Joint Session request, asking that he reschedule to coincide with NFL season opener, instead of GOP Presidential debate.

Update: Obama withdraws gauntlet, changes speech date to Sept. 8 to avoid more partisan bickering. Undoubtedly he will be harangued for this faux-pas from all sides. Let’s keep in mind that Obama started with the Sept. 7 date because that’s the first day Congress returns to session. He gave it up because he’s “just not into the theatrics.

Update: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that this debate was scheduled to air on Fox News. It is scheduled to air on MSNBC.)


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  • The Conngress pulled a dirty low down trick to prevent the President from speaking.

  • No one in the speaker’s office – not the speaker, not any staff – signed off on the date the White House announced today,” spokesman Brendan Buck said. “Unfortunately, we weren’t even asked if that date worked for the House.

    “Shortly before it arrived this morning, we were simply informed that a letter was coming. 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,” he said.

    The date of the debate was known to all long before boy blunder and his minions picked their date. Carney flat out lied when he said it was “coincidental” and everyone knows it. This situation reflects the sophomoric and egocentric attitude of boy blunder and his entire administration.

    • Liberal Lamp Post

      Actually, Boehner looks like the liar here. The WH has said that it checked with Boehner’s office and there was no objection. Obama doesn’t play games like that … he’s not into theatrics. He’s the “bigger” person, always.

      The reason Sept. 7 was his first choice is because that’s the first day the House returns to session. Jobs/Economy are more important than 1 or 20 GOP debates. If anything, that was the President’s motivation in picking that date.

      So, you’re wrong, Mr. Nutz.

  • The President is so ill-served. His speech/letter scriveners need to look elsewhere for work: “It is my intention to lay out a series of bipartisan proposals that the Congress can take immediately to continue to rebuild the American economy by strengthening small businesses…”

    “to…to…to…” Too bad. Give me clarity, concision, a memorable and partisan call to arms!

  • Actually this could be a shrewd move on President Obama’s part. Either they show up and take part and follow his address. Or they balk, hold their debate. Forcing people to choose what to watch. And have the ratings show who’s more popular. The right might claim they are the voice of the people, but most people will choose the President. Republicans will take the opportunity to bash him on FOX. While everyone else can see Obama give his speech without nutjob interference.

  • Marilyn Whiting

    The GOP is more like Comedy Central or Cartoon Network.

  • Liberal Lamp Post

    Update: John Boehner has made the unprecedented move of trying to deny Obama’s Joint Session request, asking that he reschedule to coincide with NFL season opener, instead of GOP Presidential debate.


    • Obama MUST NOT back down on this schedule. He has compromised enough and this is another GOP move to make him look weak!!

    • Oh Boy…here we go again…Talk about “unprecedented.” Will Obama speak on Wednesday or not? He has not been ‘invited’ by the Congress which is protocol, nor had a ‘concurrent resolution’ been voted on and passed by the House and Senate. ONE congressman voting “No” could put the kibosh to whole deal. A purely political move on Obama’s part as he’s trying to ‘dis’ the Republican debates, which have been scheduled for Wednesday evening for months and the White House knew that before this dust-up. Obama would rather try for some political points from his rapidly diminishing base rather than move his speech to Thursday and incur the wrath of the NFL types for preempting the Thursday night football game. The White House can request airtime from the networks at any time and speak to American people from the Oval Office, Rose Garden, golf course or where ever. It’s apparent that Obama chose this fight and didn’t figure on Boehner not backing down. BTW, I don’t have skin in this game…I’m a conservative leaning Libertarian. “A pox on both your houses!”

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