President Obama will hold a press conference at 12:45 p.m. today to discuss his administration's response to the oil spill that is still spreading through the Gulf of Mexico and onto the fragile coastline. Giving his first full-fledged White House press conference in 308 days, Obama is expected to try to overcome criticism that the White House has not done enough and that his administration has been too deferential to BP. Here's what to watch for.
- Look Out for Obama's 'Comfort Level' CBS News' Mark Knoller anticipates that "Most [questions] will focus on the oil spill and criticism that he was slow to respond to the crisis, a charge his immediate predecessor faced in 2005 in the days after Hurricane Katrina. Also keep an eye on what you perceive to be the president's comfort level as he faces questions on other matters."
- Obama Must Show He's Mad The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart insist that Obama "must show that 'plug the damn hole' frustration publicly." Capehart explains, "He has to show that anger to the press. And then he has to detail all of the things he and his administration have done over the past month. I'm talking federal money and staff hours spent trying to contain this unprecedented catastrophe."
- Must Address Closeness With BP NBC News explains, "Mindful of growing public criticism of its oil spill response, the government has sent its top scientists like [Steven] Chu into the room with BP to supervise the top kill planning and the alternatives if it fails. The White House pressure, however, coincides with a new government report that points to a 'cozy relationship' between the oil industry and the agency meant to regulate it."
- How Obama's Last Press Conference Went USA Today's Mimi Hall recalls, "The last time the president had a major press conference: July 22, 2009. That event landed him in the Rose Garden nine days later for a 'beer summit' with Henry Louis Gates, the African-American Harvard professor, and James Crowley, the white Cambridge, Mass., cop who arrested him at his home."
- Why the Long Gap? Fox News' James Rosen posits, "The dwindling frequency of these East Room extravaganzas stems in part from the fragmentation of the prime-time TV viewing audience, said analysts of the presidency and the news media. It is now split between broadcast and cable, video and on-demand options, and has hundreds more channels to choose from than the three networks that solemnly aired President Kennedy's winning quips, or Dan Rather's confrontations with President Nixon."