President Obama to hold first press conference of the year on Super Tuesday

President Obama will hold his first press conference of the year at the White House on Tuesday, according to a tweet from press secretary Jay Carney.

“President Obama will hold a news conference with the White House press corps tomorrow afternoon,” the tweet said.

No other details were immediately available.

{mosads}It will be the first solo, long-form press conference of its kind since October 2011, and coincides with a huge day in the Republican nomination process. Ten states head to the polls on March 6, or Super Tuesday, which many view as a potential turning point in the race to see who the president’s challenger will be in the general election this fall.

Obama’s foreign policy will likely be one area of focus at the presser.

On Sunday, the president gave a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, in which he reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to Israel, and Obama will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on Monday, where the leaders are expected to discuss efforts to halt Iran’s nuclear program.

Rising gas prices and the 2012 campaign have also driven the news cycle in recent weeks.

Obama has recently received criticism from the press for only making himself available through less traditional formats.

In January, Obama took questions through YouTube in his “first completely virtual interview,” while participating in a Google+ “hangout.” The event was part of a broader strategy by the White House to connect with voters while circumventing traditional news media.

In recent months, Obama has hand-picked social media networks like Facebook and Twitter to relay his message on a variety of issues, holding town-hall meetings on both and participating in a third with LinkedIn.

When Obama has sat down with reporters in recent months, it has been with selected news outlets, which could allow the White House to better tailor the president’s message.

Some members of the media have been critical of the new approach.

“I worry sometimes that the administration subverts the Wild West appeal of new media by rather scrupulously scrubbing and screening questions — like they have done in various new-media town-hall settings,” said Julie Mason, a talk show host on Sirius-XM and veteran White House correspondent who also serves on the board of the White House Correspondents’ Association.

Still, Obama has held more solo White House news conferences — 17 — than his predecessor, George W. Bush, who held 11 in his first three years in office. On the other hand, Obama has held far fewer news conferences than former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, who held 31 and 56 news conferences, respectively.

Obama has also been less likely to answer impromptu questions at photo-ops and other spur-of-the-moment sessions with reporters. Obama has only held 94 of these fewer short question-and-answer sessions, while predecessors George W. Bush and Clinton respectively held 307 and 493 in their first three years in office.

Obama is out-performing both Bush and Clinton when it comes to interviews, however. In his first three years in office, Obama has sat down for 408 interviews, compared to Bush’s 136 and Clinton’s 166.

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