09/01/2011 10:28 am ET | Updated Nov 01, 2011

Forget Wednesday or Thursday. Obama Blew It by Not Picking Tuesday

Tuesday -- the first day back at work after Labor Day -- is the symbolic start of the Serious Season.

Can there be a more emotional, more potent moment for a speech about jobs?

He could have started it off by saying:

"Today is the first day after Labor Day.

Millions of Americans are going back to work after a long weekend.

Their summer fun is over.

School is starting.

We can all feel the change in the air.

Actually, only some of us can.

Because for millions of Americans, there is no going back to work on the Tuesday after Labor Day.

For them, it was a summer of anxiety...

... of the drip, drip, drip of savings and dreams being drained,

... of children with worried faces and no new clothes for school,

...of rejection letters and emails and "Thanks for your interest" phone calls that grind the soul and crush one's confidence.

That is why we are gathered here.

There are 20 million Americans who are looking for work... or who are mired in jobs way below their skills and experience... or -- and this is probably the saddest and most contrary to our spirit as Americans -- who have just given up.

But this isn't a country that ever throws up its hands, and as president, I won't let them.

And the worry isn't contained to those 20 million.

Others look over their shoulder and wonder if they will be next.

Will their companies downsize... or right-size, as it's now conveniently called... as jobs are outsourced.

Will they get fired and replaced by someone who earns less?

Many look around and ask -- where will the next wave of job creation come from?"

And so on -- painting a picture of the problem with palpable empathy before putting forward his plan.

But only one detail stopped him from the politically astute Tuesday decision.

Tuesday is the day Congress travels back to Washington from their summer break.

So in the midst of an economic crisis that rises to the level of a speech to a joint session of Congress, President Obama caves to convention.

The transportation arrangements of a Congressional elite take precedence over the new journey America needs to embark upon.



What a lost opportunity.

It would have been a huge political win if the Republicans attacked him for the Tuesday decision.

What president wouldn't love to say:

"Millions of Americans have to get up at five to get to work by eight in the morning.

And some members of Congress are whining that they can't get here by eight at night?"

The failure of the White House to create a "context opp" -- the situationalist equivalent of a photo opp -- is inexplicable.

And their willingness to choose a day they knew would provoke the Republicans -- and then back off it -- is similarly baffling.

You could game out results of the Wednesday scenario without IBM's Watson computer.

The president's supporters clearly have cause for alarm.

A leader who can't see the implications of his decisions in a week, will only continue to struggle with what happens a year from November.

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