Update: Shortly after this post was posted, Chad Pergram and Chuck Todd both announced the President has lost again to the GOP and agreed to speak on Thursday night instead of Wednesday. We've reached out to Chuck Todd and Luke Russert to see how the network will handle the scheduling conflict, but neither have responded yet. Pergram tweets, "Have Obama & Boehner now ticked off cheeseheads and Saints fans by moving speech to Sept 8? Same night as Packers-Saints game?"
Original post: White House aides and John Boehner aides are meeting now to try and come to a reasonable compromise on a date for Obama's big speech on unemployment, according to NBC reporter Chuck Todd. The president announced his intention to give his speech to a joint session of Congress next Wednesday, September 7, the same night as a scheduled Republican presidential candidate debate put on by NBC and Politico. John Boehner asked the president to postpone his speech, citing security reasons, to Thursday. This seems like a reasonable request, except the television network broadcasting the GOP's debate, might have other ideas. NBC already has something scheduled for the 8 p.m. time slot on Thursday: the first game of the NFL season.
The first game of the NFL season yields big ratings for the network. Last year's game, between the Minnesota Vikings (led by Brett Favre) and the then-defending Super Bowl champions New Orlean Saints, drew 22.9 million viewers. This means big, big advertising dollars for NBC, which they likely don't want to sacrifice. This year the game, between the Saints and the defending champion Green Bay Packers, doesn't kick off until 8:30, but there will likely be one or two hours of pre-game lead in shows. NBC is probably sweating over the proposed Thursday start time. And so is the president, according to NBC's Luke Russert. He tweets, "Obama doesn't want to compete with Saints v Packers. I think folks in the battleground of Wisconsin would rather see BJ Raji than Congress." That leaves an outside of primetime 7 p.m. start for the president that still doesn't satisfy Boehner's security plans, or a Tuesday night broadcast, which will satisfy all parties involved.
Jim Demint has threatened to object and force a filibuster on the proposed Wednesday joint session, per Fox News' Chad Pergram. If he does, it would force, "Senate leaders to file a cloture petition (which needs 60 votes) just to hold the session on the 7th."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.