For a man who professes to believe in equality for all, the president certainly has no respect for equal time. Last night, after addressing a joint session of Congress and the American people on the State of the Union, he launched a conference call with supporters. The call, which began immediately after Obama’s hour-long speech, made it impossible for his followers to tune in to Marco Rubio’s Republican response.
Keith Koffler at White House Dossier reports that the caller list included members of the group Organizing for Action, formerly the grassroots arm of Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. Information about the post-SOTU event is said to have been emailed more than 20 million people.
While the opposition response does not hold quite the same status as the State of the Union itself, preempting it with a presidential event can be viewed as a classless and petty impingement on one of the year’s most important moments of civic discourse.
In this case, not only did Obama’s call draw people away from a chance to hear the Republican point of view, it helped reduce the audience for Rubio, who is viewed as one of the leading contenders to recapture the White House for Republicans.
Maybe the president believed that slighting the Republicans was fair turnabout, since he was the one who backed down in 2011, agreeing to postpone a nationally televised jobs speech he had originally planned to coincide with a GOP debate.