President Obama Tuesday night butted in to Marco Rubio’s Republican response to his State of the Union address, staging a conference call with supporters just as Rubio was making his remarks.
The call, organized for Obama’s millions-strong populist group Organizing for Action, was scheduled to begin right after Obama finished his address, which is when Rubio’s response began. The call kept untold numbers of Obama supporters from tuning in to the opposition.
OFA members – who formerly comprised the grassroots arm of the Obama 2012 campaign – were summoned to the call by emails from the group’s leadership. The email list is said to include more than 20 million people.
This is part of the text from one of the emails, this one sent by OFA Executive Director Jon Carson:
This Tuesday, after the President finishes delivering the State of the Union from the Capitol, he’d like to jump on the phone for a special online call with the folks building this organization.
You’re going to want to be a part of this. The call will start at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time — sign up here.
On the call, the President will talk about his plan for moving this country forward — and how you can help put his words into action.
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.
H/T to Boker Tov, Boulder!