John Boehner’s objection to the date of President Obama’s upcoming jobs speech is a little surprising, considering how much flak Obama was getting for making such a transparently political timing decision. But the House Speaker just sent a letter “respectfully” calling on the president to move the speech forward one day, ostensibly because the current House schedule won’t allow enough time for proper security screening procedures before Obama’s 8 p.m. address:
As you know, the House of Representatives and the Senate are each required to adopt a Concurrent Resolution to allow for a Joint Session of Congress to receive the president. And as the Majority Leader announced more than a month ago, the House will not be in session until Wednesday, September 7, with votes at 6:30 that evening. With the significant amount of time – typically more than three hours – that is required to allow for a security sweep of the House Chamber before receiving the president, 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.
The left will probably scream about how disrespectful this request is, but Boehner was careful to steer clear of politics here and only mention the legitimate conflicts with timing and security. Obama will probably reject it, but he might look even more unreasonable when he does – after all, what’s the big deal about pushing it back one day if Congress thinks there are security concerns involved?
The one potential landmine for Boehner is that everyone knows the more likely motivation of this letter. And neither party is going to win over the American public by playing politics with the president’s jobs speech.
Meanwhile, Obama’s still getting hammered for his decision. Another sign he’s not going to come out of this fight on top? Reporters are already inquiring about whether Obama took the feelings of 90-year-old Nancy Reagan into consideration (she’s hosting the GOP debate at the Reagan ranch):
Asked by a reporter if the White House was concerned about “potentially upsetting” former First Lady Nancy Reagan, who is 90, Mr. Carney responded: “I — well, I think that the — well, you know, we — the sponsors of the debate control — you know, with the timing of it — that they can make a decision based on how they want to handle this. But there are many channels, there are many opportunities for the public to hear the president speak, to watch this debate, one of many. And — well, you know, we’ll let — we’ll let that sort itself out.”
Carney’s sputtering response says it all. Most people haven’t forgotten that just a few weeks ago Sen. Marco Rubio caught the former First Lady when she nearly fell on national TV. Obama obviously had zero intention of insulting Nancy Reagan with his decision (and for all we know, she might think it’s no big deal), but that doesn’t make the political optics any better.