Time Running out for President Obama to Hold Traditional End of Year New Conference


The White House has announced the president will hold a news conference at 4:15pm ET Wednesday.


White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs Wednesday indicated it seemed likely for the press to see the president this afternoon.


There's still a sliver of time left, but if last year is any indication, it seems President Obama isn't necessarily following suit with many of his predecessors in doing the typical end of year presidential news conference.

He didn't do one in 2009, and opportunities for one this year are getting more limited. If he were to do one, he'd likely wait until the action on Capitol Hill is wrapped up and after he's signed the repeal of "don't' ask don't tell" Wednesday morning.

Christmas is just four days away and the president has already delayed his vacation in Hawaii by at least a half a week, with the rest of the first family arrived to the tropical destination last weekend as planned.

Obama last gave a news conference on December 7, which was largely about his compromise with Republicans over the tax rate deal.  In 2009, his last one for the year was in July.

He's given five solo news conferences in 2010 so far, the same amount as he gave last year.

The end of year news conference serves several purposes, and there are pros and cons to doing them.

The positive is that it's an opportunity to wrap up loose ends with the press, a chance to drive his message in a slower news time, and state any goals for the upcoming year.

The negative is that it is a chance for the press to free-wheel and lob an unexpected question that drives an unwanted story (take the whole "beer summit" ordeal in July's news conference last year).

Throughout recent history, presidents typically have done these end of year news conferences for at least a good chunk of their years in office.

There are the extremes of course - President Ford only gave one, President Reagan only had three in his two terms in office and President Clinton gave six (taking off 1998, the year of the Monica Lewinsky scandal).

Here's a snapshot of previous presidential news conference at the end of the year from the past few decades:

Lyndon Johnson

December 27, 1963 December 28, 1964 December 6, 1965 December 31, 1966December 4, 1967December 27, 1968

Richard Nixon

December 8, 1969December 10, 1970

Gerald R. Ford

December 20, 1975

Jimmy Carter

December 30, 1977 December 12, 1978

Ronald Reagan

December 17, 1981 December 20, 1983 December 8, 1988

George HW Bush

December 21, 1989 December 18, 1990 December 26, 1991

Bill Clinton

December 15, 1993December 11, 1994December 20, 1995 December 13, 1996December 16, 1997 December 8, 1999

George W Bush

December 15, 2003December 20, 2004 December 19, 2005 December 20, 2006 December 20, 2007

SOURCE: American Presidency Project. Presidential News Conferences