Obama Puts Joint-Session Jobs Speech Against Republican Debate

The president's choice of venue and time poses a direct challenge to his political opponents

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President Barack Obama has been promising a major address on the nation's persistently high unemployment rate to follow Labor Day, and today he announced the schedule with an extra dig at political opponents: He wants a joint session of Congress to hear the speech, and has set it for 8 p.m. next Wednesday -- the exact time of the Republican presidential debate. As The New York Times points out, " it is remarkable that he would choose to [make the speech] in such an elevated setting, and at the same time that Republican candidates for president will be laying out their own vision for how to get the country out of the economic doldrums — a gesture of challenge from a president who appears set on laying out as stark a contrast as he can between where he would like to take the country and where the opposition would go." Obama made the scheduling announcement in a letter to the leaders of both parties, in which he said it was his "intention to lay out a series of bipartisan proposals that the Congress can take immediately to continue to rebuild the American economy by strengthening small businesses, helping Americans get back to work, and putting more money in the paychecks of the middle class and working American."

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