GOP Debate Sponsors Express Delight That Obama Is Upstaging Them

What do you do if you’re sponsoring a televised GOP 2012 debate and the President of the United States schedules a major address to Congress that clashes with it?

Do you:
(a) Freak out and react angrily.
(b) Grin and bear it.

So far the hosts of the Sept. 7 GOP debate, Politico and NBC News, are taking the latter route. Politico‘s John Harris called it “a terrific turn of events,” and tweeted: “It raises the profile of the whole evening … makes it the first general election debate.”Meanwhile, Politico and NBC News announced the debate time would not be moved and released the following statement:

“We’re thrilled that we now have a terrific opportunity to hear from national leaders of both major parties about the most pressing domestic issues facing the country,” NBC News and POLITICO said.

Not everyone took the President’s scheduling so calmly. Mitt Romney’s campaign wrote reporters with the following: “Next Wednesday night TV viewers will have a choice between Republican candidates talking about the future of America, or Barack Obama talking about the future of his presidency.”

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus echoed this and went a few steps further:

“President Obama’s decision to address Congress at the same time as a long-scheduled Republican Presidential debate cements his reputation as Campaigner-in-Chief.  While the White House claims it’s simply a ‘coincidence,’ the American people can see right through that excuse.  The President has had months to get to work on the economy, but instead he chose to take a taxpayer-funded campaign trip and a cushy Martha’s Vineyard vacation.  If the President were serious about putting ‘country before politics,’ as he said in his request to speak to Congress, he wouldn’t be caught in such a thinly-veiled political ploy.  This is yet another reminder that the President is out of touch and out of ideas.  The only job he seems to care about is his own.”

Then of course, there’s the hidden third option: shift the start time a little. The Huffington Post‘s Michael Calderone tweets: “John Harris tells me NBC/Politico’s GOP presidential debate will be after Obama is done.”

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