Bush to Hold Press Conference in Chicago Friday

President Bush will hold a news conference Friday in Chicago as the White House explores new venues for putting the president before the public.

It will be his first full scale news conference since June 14 in the Rose Garden on his return from a surprise visit to Iraq.

Friday's session, around 11 a.m. EDT, is expected to run about an hour and be open to Chicago-area press as well as the White House press corps that accompanies the president, said Dan Bartlett, the president's counselor.

Bartlett said the Chicago trip was the beginning of occasional presidential trips around the country to learn what's on Americans' minds.

Often when Bush travels, he stays in a community for only a short time and talks about one issue, Bartlett said. "This gives him a opportunity to cover a broader range of subjects in the local community," Bartlett said.

It also provides Bush with an opportunity for more exposure at a time when his popularity is low and Americans are unhappy with his handling of Iraq and the economy.