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MICHAEL BARONE: OBAMA speech fiasco shows ‘AUDACITY OF WEAKNESS’ – Campaign 2012

September 3, 2011

Obama speech fiasco shows ‘audacity of weakness’

byMichael Barone

Sept. 3, 2011

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney pauses his daily news briefing at the White House, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2011, in Washington. Carney said it was just “coincidental” that the president wanted to speak at the same time as the Reagan Library debate. It was just “one debate that’s one of many on one channel.” (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

I can’t remember a more stunning rebuke of a president by a congressional leader than Speaker John Boehner’s refusal to agree to Barack Obama’s demand — er, request — that he summon a joint session of Congress to hear the president’s latest speech on the economy at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 7.

Obama’s request was regarded as a clever move by some wise guys in the left blogosphere since that was the exact time of a long-scheduled Republican presidential candidate debate at the Reagan Library. Take that, you guys!

But Boehner smoothly responded that, with Congress reconvening late that afternoon, the security sweep necessary for a presidential visit would be impossible, and invited the president to speak on Thursday. White House officials quickly agreed, scheduling the speech at 7 p.m. Eastern to avoid overlap with the first game of the National Football League season.

Not such a big deal, some people are saying. I disagree. I think it illustrates several of the weaknesses of this presidency.

One is a lack of regard for the Constitution. Congress is a separate branch of government, set up by Article I of the Constitution, which is not about the Executive Branch as Joe Biden said in the 2008 vice presidential debate. (Media outfits that dispatched dozens of investigative reporters to Alaska were apparently incapable of discovering this obvious error.)

Before last week, presidents and congressional leaders always agreed privately on scheduling presidential addresses to joint sessions before any public announcement was made. But it appears that no such agreement was made here, just a brusque announcement that had to be retracted.

via Obama speech fiasco shows ‘audacity of weakness’ | Campaign 2012.

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