Washington, D.C. - In a prime-time press conference tonight, President Obama announced that he is waiting until "that all-important week for television ratings known as sweeps week" to unveil his plan to fix the economy. Mr. Obama said that he knows the move requires patience on the part of the American people, but that it will pay off "when we get super-galactic ratings." Sweeps week this year runs from April 23rd to May 20th.
It was thought Mr. Obama would use the public address to try to regain Americans' faith, after several weeks of receiving, along with his Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, heavy criticism for his handling of the financial crisis. But almost immediately upon taking to the lectern, he revealed his surprising plans, which could incite greater anger on the part of the American people. Seeming to acknowledge this risk, Mr. Obama touched on his reasons for waiting until Sweeps Week to announce and implement his plan.
"I know some of you are saying, 'We don't have another minute to spare,'" Mr. Obama acknowledged. "'How can you talk about waiting?' But just ask yourself this: What would you rather see during sweeps week? Some character get killed off on 'Desperate Housewives,' or me announce the historic plan that's going to turn around this economy and get us out of this recession? I think the answer is obvious."
An AP reporter pointed out in his questioning of Mr. Obama that the term "sweeps week" is actually a misnomer, as the sweeps period, of which there are several each year, actually runs for about a month at a time. "Well, if that's the case, then we'll just have to do a weekly address where I let out a new component of the plan each time," Mr. Obama responded. "It'll be like a cliffhanger. 'He's going to implement a tax break...but for who? I need to know! I gotta watch next week!' It'll be great. I'm actually very glad you told me that. I'm really excited now."
When an ABC News reporter attempted to ask Mr. Obama about recent violence on the Mexican border, the president told the reporter that there was only one issue on the table during this particular press conference. "Look, Tony, I respect the question and I respect your reasons for asking it," the president said. "But I think we all know what this press conference is about. It's about sweeps. If your question isn't about sweeps, then I really think it needs to wait until another time. Now, if it's about how Mexican violence somehow dovetails with sweeps week, how it's related to planning programming and attracting viewers, then I'm all ears. But otherwise, it needs to wait. Okay?"
Asked what he thought about the potential for public anger over what amounted to a deliberate hesitation in fixing the country's economy, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said, "Yeah, there may be some anger. That might be true that we'll see some of that, and we'll adjust to that and respond appropriately when the time comes. But I'm telling you, once they see what he's got in store for sweeps, they're going to forget all about that anger, believe me. You think Fonzie jumping over the shark was cool? You liked when the Brady kids went to that island? Wait 'till you see this."
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