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Obama to hold news conference; Afghanistan, debt talks, jobs likely subjects

June 29, 2011|By James Oliphant
  • President Obama, at an event with German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this month at the White House, is set to hold his first solo press conference since March.
President Obama, at an event with German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier… (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty…)

President Obama will hold a news conference Wednesday morning in the East Room of the White House, his first in three months.

The president has held appearances with international leaders since that time, but hasn’t faced the press on his own in a free-for-all format since March 11. The press conference starts at 11:30 a.m. EDT.

Topics will likely include the situation in Afghanistan, including the attack on a hotel in Kabul by the Taliban on Tuesday, the questions on Capitol Hill about the legality of the U.S. role in Libya, the ongoing debt-limit negotiations with Congress, the 2012 presidential campaign and the state of the economy.

Negotiators are facing an early-August deadline to raise the federal debt limit or risk a default that experts say could profoundly damage the nation’s standing with international markets. Obama recently entered the talks himself, hosting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at the White House on Monday. Later Wednesday, he’ll speak to Democratic leaders from the Hill.

In the wake of an attack last night on a hotel in Kabul that killed 10 and spurred NATO forces to intervene in a section of the country that the Afghan government is charged with securing, he’ll also likely face questions about his decision to pull 33,000 troops from Afghanistan by September 2012 and the long-term security of that nation.  

And Republicans and Democrats on the Hill remain uneasy about the United States’ objectives in Libya as that NATO-led action drags on with no resolution in sight. The GOP, in particular, has demanded more clarity from the White House, as well as its admission that it requires congressional authorization to carry the conflict forward.

He’ll also be asked about his stewardship of the struggling economy, as presidential aspirants such as Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann hammer his administration daily over unrelenting high unemployment.

Wednesday evening, the president will speak at a gay pride event at the White House.

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