Top question: Will Obama hold press conference before summer vacation?

President Obama is set to go on vacation in Martha's Vineyard, Mass., on Saturday, raising the question of whether he’ll speak to the press before he leaves.

The president hasn't fielded questions from reporters in a solo press conference since April 30, despite swirling controversies over issues including National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden and political targeting at the IRS.

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The White House is also grappling with a terror threat that has forced the closure of embassies and diplomatic posts across the Middle East and the upcoming showdown in Washington over the debt ceiling and federal budget.

Obama has sent signals that he could appear for a presidential press conference before he heads on vacation.

When he made a surprise appearance July 19 to discuss the verdict in the Trayvon Martin murder trial, Obama said he would “try to arrange a fuller press conference” on questions like immigration and the economy sometime in “the next couple of weeks.”

White House press secretary Jay Carney played coy when reporters insinuated Thursday that there might be a press conference. 

Before beginning his briefing, the White House spokesman jokingly mocked New York Times reporter Michael Sheer for not wearing a jacket to the briefing, drawing laughs from the crowd.

Carney then retreated, saying he was OK with the more casual look, prompting one reporter to ask, in a veiled reference to rumors of an Obama press conference Friday, "But not tomorrow, right?"

"What do you mean?" Carney said, offering little insight into a possible news conference. "I'll see you tomorrow."

The president came under some criticism for first addressing the terror alert publicly during an appearance Tuesday night on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

Obama told the talk show host that Americans were “going to live our lives,” while adding it was important “to stay on top of” potential threats.

Conservative blogs and commentators pounced on Obama's decision to appear on Leno's show and address the issue.

“This was a very curious venue for the president of the United States, the commander in chief, for the first time to address this huge, probably catastrophic, situation that is going across the Middle East,” conservative pundit Michelle Malkin told Fox News.

— This story was published at 12:05 p.m. and updated at 2:01 p.m.

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