Did President Obama‘s address to the nation last night strike you as strange?
You are not the only one.
Some background: It’s unusual for the President of the United States to ask the networks for primetime time in order to not break news. Actually it’s mostly unheard of.
The White House argued that 80% of the public had not heard of the debt ceiling and the President needed to address the nation to prepare them in case the worst happened and…the country ceased to exist? Actually no one seems to actually know what the worst it. But if last night’s address — with the President requesting citizens call their local congressman to protest — is some sort of solution, than likely you’ll do just as well to duck and cover.
Meanwhile, as a number of frustrated MSNBC hosts pointed out, Obama did not break any news. In fact, his address sounded an awful lot like a campaign speech ahead of his 2012 campaign (i.e. please remember when you vote, that whatever happens, this was not my fault).
And Boehner’s immediate response did not help from hammering that point home.
Chris Matthews, whose contribution to MSNBC’s weird Lean Forward campaign is all about how much he loves Obama, was not impressed.
“I think there’s concern in the media — our media about that. He asked for time in primetime to go on national television. Usually Presidents ask for that when they want to make an announcement, make news as you put it. Clearly, he did not tonight. In fact, he openly stated this is a debate that he’s endangered in, not a news-making event. I think that’s why the networks chose, I think wisely, to give the opposition its turn, but it did put the President almost on an equal level…[however] I think both sides blew it in terms of format tonight. The President shouldn’t have gone on national television to give a political address and I don’t think the opposition did much in matching it.”
Joe Scarborough was equally puzzled.
“I thought, again, that the President did very, very well last night and I think you’re right. John Boehner was above his game. Certainly at least as far as delivery goes. But the fact that both of these gentlemen gave primetime addresses, delivered political speeches, broke absolutely no ground and, in fact, just made a lot of people that were watching say, even supporters of the president saying, this concerns us because we’re basically where we were when this all began.”
It did accomplish one thing, however: Congressional phones are reportedly ringing off the hook.
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