Obama to hold presser Friday

President Obama will hold a press conference at the White House on Friday before he heads to Martha's Vineyard, Mass., for a weeklong vacation. 

Obama announced the news conference himself while posing for photos with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaris, who met with the president Thursday.

Asked why he had cancelled a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and why he was awarding the Medal of Freedom to Oprah Winfrey, Obama said: "Guys, I'm going to be having a press conference tomorrow, so why don't you ask that question tomorrow."  

It will be the first solo press conference for the president 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 president is also sure to get questions on the 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 had hinted 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 issues 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 Shear 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.”

This story was updated at 4:31 p.m.

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