America cares about jobs. The national press corps cares about the 2012 presidential race. And next Tuesday, we might get to see which topic can draw a bigger audience.
White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer announced on Twitter Wednesday that President Obama has called for a joint session of Congress Sept. 7 so he can make his much-anticipated jobs speech to lawmakers and the nation.
That schedule would put Obama’s address in direct conflict with the first of three Republican presidential debates scheduled for September.The debate is highly anticipated among political observers as it will be the first where new frontrunner Rick Perry goes head-to-head with his rivals for the Republican nomination. The debate is hosted by NBC News and Politico and is set to be broadcast live from the Reagan Library in California Sept. 7 on MSNBC.
Polling suggests America would rather hear about jobs than presidential politics Tuesday night.
In early August, CNN polled Americans on their national priorities. A full 60 percent responded that the economy was their first priority. Also on that list was the federal debt (16 percent), along with health care, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, illegal immiration and terrorism, which were all in the single digits. Within those who considered the economy their top concern, almost half (49 percent) identified unmployment as the major problem within the issue.
On the other side, nearly half (45 percent) of GOP voters aren’t even paying attention to their own primary process, according to the latest AP poll.
Should the two big political events remain in conflict, viewers will have two more chances to see Perry share a stage with his rivals before Oct. 1. The candidates are scheduled to meet in a CNN debate on Sept. 12 and again on Fox News a couple weeks later.
Kyle Leighton contributed.
Update: Politico sends out the following email at 3:06pm:
“The Republican presidential debate scheduled for Sept. 7 at the Reagan Library will not be postponed, NBC News and POLITICO said Wednesday, despite the White House’s announcement that President Obama has asked congressional leaders to address a joint session on jobs at the same time.
“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.”
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