President Obama will hold his first news conference in more than three months on Tuesday, the latest curious bit of counterprogramming by the White House tied to the Republican race for president.
Tuesday, of course, is Super Tuesday in the GOP’s nomination fight -- the biggest day of voting yet. Ten states hold caucuses and primaries with more than 400 delegates at stake, or more than a third of the total a candidate needs to clinch the nomination.
Last week when Michigan Republicans were casting their votes, Obama spoke to a United Auto Workers gathering in Washington. He has also made trips to Nevada and Florida within days of those state’s nominating contests. He also held a video town hall with Iowa Democrats on the night of the Hawkeye State’s leadoff caucuses.
Obama’s last solo news conference was in November from Hawaii, where he was hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference (APEC).
According to CBS News’ Mark Knoller, the unofficial statistician of the White House press corps, it will be Obama’s 19th formal solo White House news conference, and 94th including other press availabilities here and abroad.
The news conference comes as polls show Obama’s political standing has improved. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows his approval rating has reached 50%, the highest since last May just after the death of Osama bin Laden.
He’ll likely face questions about the economy, his meetings Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as the GOP race.
White House press secretary Jay Carney, who announced the news conference on his Twitter account, said it would take place in the afternoon.