The Corner

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Wrong Playbook?


President Obama has wrangled an invitation from Congress to address a joint session on September 9. This move, while rare, is not unprecedented. The Washington Times reports that 3 of the 4 last presidents have delivered one, but only one, speech to a joint session, so it is an arrow to be shot sparingly. In addition, only one of the preceding three has been on a domestic-policy issue. Ronald Reagan did it after a Gorbachev summit in 1985 and Bush gave one after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. The domestic-policy precedent is an odd one — Clinton’s 1993 address advocating his radical health overhaul — and we all know how that one turned out. One would think that the Obama administration would not be so interested in following that particular playbook.