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The GOP Should Have Called Their Debate ‘Dancing with the Stars’; Update: Boehner Asks WH to Change Day of Speech; Update: White House Moves Speech to Day After GOP Debate

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By Doug Powers  •  August 31, 2011 04:35 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

President Obama must have been pretty impressed with the quality of the lobster Brian Roberts served on the Vineyard, because his spokesman Jay Carney has graciously given NBC permission to move the start time of the GOP debate next Wednesday. This would be so the Republican debate isn’t in direct conflict with the president’s “jobs speech” that just now happens to have been scheduled for the exact same time.

According to Carney, the scheduling is just a coincidence (he really should serve fries with those whoppers).

However, the network says the start time of the GOP debate won’t be changed:

NBC News has confirmed that the Republican presidential debate will go on as scheduled despite President Obama’s request to address a joint session of Congress about his jobs plan at the same time.
[...]
“One debate of many that’s on one channel of many was not enough of a reason” to pick another date, Carney said.

The Republicans should have called the debate “Dancing with the Stars.” Why? Because then the White House might have accommodated them by moving Obama’s speech to a different time:

After some friendly negotiations, all parties agreed to a mutually acceptable time: 7:30 Eastern, which meant the speech on the military situation in Libya could be delivered — and analyzed — in time for the fans of “Dancing,” as well as other scheduled network shows, to see the shows they expected to see at their regularly scheduled times.
[...]
A White House spokesman, Joshua Earnest, sent a statement by e-mail:

“The White House routinely works with the networks, as a group, in circumstances like these to find a time that’s respectful of both the networks and their audience – while ensuring that the president has the platform he needs to deliver an important message to the American people.”

And an even better reason for the White House to slide the time of an address by the president is if a network’s regularly scheduled programming revolves around, well, the president:

One of these other shows was a special on volunteerism on NBC, which featured appearances from the four living ex-presidents, as well as a taped message from Mr. Obama himself.

Update: John Boehner is asking Obama to push his “job speech” back one day to next Thursday. Something that’s been mentioned though is that the NFL season gets underway that night at 8:30 ET.

Update II: CBS News’ Mark Knoller Tweets that the White House will “accept Speaker Boehner’s invitation to address Congress on September 8th.” It was all just a big coincidental mix-up, or something…

Some will be disappointed in Obama for pushing it back a day, but it sounds as if the president invited himself to someone else’s house without first finding out if they wanted company that night.

Update III: Even James Carville thinks the White House was out of bounds for trying to schedule Obama’s speech on the same night as the GOP debate.

**Written by Doug Powers

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