Timing clash settled, Obama sets sights on speech

By Jim Kuhnhenn

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Sept. 1 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

The dispute over the timing of the speech created an inauspicious start to the jobs debate and introduced tensions before Congress even returns from its annual summer recess.

Usually, presidential requests to address Congress are routinely granted after consultations between the White House and lawmakers.

In this case, the White House notified Boehner's office less than two hours before it released the letter requesting the session. Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, said Boehner's office raised no objections or concerns.

"If they had raised an objection, we wouldn't have gone forward with that date," he said.

In his formal reply a few hours later, Boehner said the House would not return until late Sept. 7 and security and parliamentary issues might be an obstacle. The House and the Senate each would have to adopt a resolution to allow a joint session for the president.

Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said no one in Boehner's office signed off on the date and accused the White House of ignoring established protocol of arriving at a mutually agreed date before making public announcements.

A key issue for many Republicans was the Sept. 7 Republican presidential debate in California.

In a message posted on the Twitter social network, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus wrote, "BarackObama request to give jobs speech the same night as GOP Presidential debate is further proof this WH is all politics all the time."

Carney had said earlier that the timing chosen by the White House was a coincidence.

Negotiations between the White House and Boehner's office proceeded through the late afternoon and into the evening Wednesday

At about 9:15 p.m., Carney issued a statement: "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, September 8th."

Huntsman made his remarks on NBC's "Today" show.

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