That would have made more sense
Obama, being President, would have gotten plenty of coverage. In fact, I'm sure his coverage would have dwarfed the GOP debates.
Going the route of having to ask permission from the GOP Speaker of the House seemed like it was set up to fail.
Either it was poor planning, or an attempt at more politics as usual. I hope it was the former, as BHO has promised not to be doint the latter.