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President Barack Obama will reveal his debt and job creation plan in a major speech “sometime” next week — but the timing of the pivotal address could hardly be worse.According to the White House, the speech is scheduled for sometime after September 6th — the day former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is set to unveil his own job creation plan.
Romney and the other Republican presidential candidates will then face off in a debate at the Reagan library on September 7th. For Obama to give his speech before the debate would put his plan up against a firing squad in prime-time.
That leaves Thursday, Friday, or Saturday for Obama to present his case. But the fact is, a speech then won’t pack the the same, desperately needed, punch — Sunday is the 10th anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001.
News outlets and networks across the country are planning commemoration events and broadcasts to coincide with the anniversary, meaning Obama’s speech is almost certain to get less airtime than other major presidential addresses.
Less media attention means less public awareness of the president’s agenda — and a reduced opportunity for Obama to use the bully pulpit to preempt the inevitable Republican attacks.
With Obama’s approval rating languishing near record lows and support for his economic policies dropping, he needs the speech to be a pivot-point for his administration to regain its momentum going into the Fall.
That the White House allowed itself to get boxed in to an unfavorable calendar is itself remarkable, given the Obama campaign’s messaging prowess, and speaks to the lingering difficulties the administration is having controlling the news cycle.
With just over 15 months until Obama faces reelection, his White House can hardly afford more missed opportunities.