Obama Speech to Congress Set; Carney Calls Scheduling Spat ‘Not Very Relevant’

Sep 1, 2011 6:10pm

The date is set. The scheduling SNAFU that beset Washington for the past two days is over.

President Obama will address a joint session of Congress on Thursday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m., according to an official invitation sent “respectfully” from House Speaker John Boehner.

That’s the night after Republican presidential candidates debate and in plenty of time for the president not to interfere with the first regular season kickoff of the NFL.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney tried repeatedly Thursday to brush off questions about the partisan sparring between the White House and the House Speaker’s office Wednesday over when exactly the president should deliver his jobs plan to Congress.

Read more about the speech spat.

Carney said that he knows this kind of story is “catnip” for reporters but that it’s “small stuff” and “just not very relevant.”

“What the American people expect the president to do, what the American people expect their senators and congressmen and – women to do, is listen to them and take action. They do not give a lick about what day next week the president speaks before Congress. They want to hear from him. They want to know what his proposals are… That’s what they care about. And they care whether or not Congress has similar ideas and is willing to take action on those ideas. They simply do not care about this stuff,” Carney told reporters today.

Late last evening the president accepted House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to move back one day his address to a joint session of Congress outlining his much-anticipated jobs proposal. The president had originally requested to give his speech next Wednesday, Sept. 7, at the exact same time that Republican Presidential candidates are scheduled to appear in a live televised debate.

Boehner rejected and proposed next Thursday instead. The president ultimately accepted but the White House did note that they had consulted with the Speaker’s office before publicly requesting the original Wednesday date.

Despite yesterday’s kerfuffle, Carney insisted that Congress and the White House have “fine communication.”

Today the White House assured NFL fans that the president’s speech will be completed before the New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers kick off.

With the president’s address set for 7 p.m. Carney noted it will give the President ample time to wrap up before the big game and give the president “the opportunity to watch the game, like millions of other Americans.”

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