After scheduling tussle, Obama to address Congress on Thursday

In a likely foreshadowing of a contentious work session to come, President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) agreed on when the president could present his jobs plan only after a heated back-and-forth over scheduling.

A contentious and public disagreement over when the president would give a speech to a joint session of Congress erupted Wednesday and ended when the White House accepted the Speaker's proposed date.

Press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement Wednesday night that Obama had agreed to speak on Thursday, Sept. 8, instead of Sept. 7, the day the president originally requested.

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"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, Sept. 8 and challenge our nation's leaders to start focusing 100 percent of their attention on doing whatever they can to help the American people," Carney said.

The date Obama requested falls on the same day as one of the Republican presidential debates, this one the first to feature Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Instead, Obama will now be competing against the NFL season opener. 

Obama and Boehner squared off Wednesday, not over the contents of the speech but the date on which Obama will give it.


The White House and the Speaker's office were at odds over whether the president's staff had talked to Boehner's office about the date before announcing it to the press.

Both sides dug in on their arguments, with Boehner's office saying that the White House had only given them a heads up shortly before announcing the date instead of talking with the Speaker about the schedule.

“Today, the president asked to address the Congress about the need for urgent action on the economic situation facing the American people as soon as Congress returned from recess," Carney said. "Both Houses will be back in session after their August recess on Wednesday, Sept. 7th, so that was the date that was requested.  We consulted with the Speaker about that date before the letter was released, but he determined Thursday would work better."

Citing logistical difficulties, a letter from Boehner requested that Obama delay his jobs address for 24 hours. 

The Speaker's letter made no mention of the more obvious conflict between the president's speech and the Republican presidential debate scheduled for Wednesday at 8 p.m. 

"As your spokesperson today said, there are considerations about the Congressional calendar that must be made prior to scheduling such an extraordinary event," the Speaker wrote. 

"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 a 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."

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