4:33 p.m. | Updated Speaker John A. Boehner all but rejected President Obama’s request to speak to a joint session of Congress next Wednesday by offering an audience the following night.
Mr. Obama had asked to deliver a much anticipated speech outlining his proposals to boost employment and the economy on Sept. 7 — the same night as a scheduled Republican presidential debate, as it happens.
In a letter to Congressional leaders on Wednesday, Mr. Obama said it was his “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.”
Mr. Boehner responded with a letter saying that Sept. 7 was not so good for a presidential address before a joint session of Congress. Might he be able to reschedule to Sept. 8 instead?
That Mr. Obama was going to make his speech next week was expected. But it is remarkable that he would choose to do so in such an elevated setting as a joint session, and at the same time that Republican candidates for president will be laying out their own visions for how to get the country out of the economic doldrums. It is a challenging gesture from a president who appears set on laying out as stark a contrast as he can between where he would like to take the country and where the opposition would go.