Moves speech to avoid GOPs debate

Caught in a skedding bind between Republicans and football fans, President Obama bowed late Wednesday to the political pressure in D.C. and bumped his primetime address to a joint session of Congress forward one day, to Sept. 8.

Thursday morning, the White House announced that the president’s speech would be moved from 8:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. so as not to conflict with the New Orleans Saints-Green Bay Packers game, which marks the season premiere of NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” franchise (kickoff is at 8:30 p.m.).

Obama had planned to deliver his speech laying out his jobs plan on Sept. 7, but that conflicted with NBC News’ planned debate featuring Republican presidential hopefuls. House Speaker John Boehner had requested that the president change the date of his address; the White House initially stood firm on the Sept. 7 date but by Wednesday evening had agreed to the change.

White House press secretary Jay Carney initially told reporters that, given the large number of Republican presidential candidate debates skedded (more than 20), “One debate of many that’s on one channel of many was not enough reason not to have the speech at the time that we decided to have it.”

But in a statement issued Wednesday night, the White House put the best spin it could on its about-face: “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% of their attention on doing whatever they can to help the American people.”

Just so long as they’re not Saints or Packers fans.

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