A momentous occasion, to be sure, since Obama tried to get by without holding any more press conferences with White House correspondents than absolutely necessary:
Today: President Obama will hold the last press conference of his first term in the East Room at 11:15 AM
— Dan Pfeiffer (@pfeiffer44) January 14, 2013
So what’s on tap for today’s presser? Barack Obama will want to make the case for tougher gun laws, even though his own administration shows little enthusiasm for enforcing those on the books already. He’s almost certainly going to make a pitch for his upcoming proposal on immigration reform, as he races to get ahead of Marco Rubio and secure the center. Obama will get help in that regard from his latest Cabinet announcement:
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will remain in the same post as President Obama begins a second term, a White House official said Monday. …
A former governor of Arizona, Napolitano may play an important role in Obama’s push for immigration legislation, a high early priority for the administration.
Given the rising criticism of his all-white-male Cabinet announcements of late, it’s no surprise that Napolitano is sticking around for a while longer. After the departure of Hilda Solis from Labor, Obama can’t afford to lose another woman, even if it would give him the opportunity to name another.
Will the press corps make an issue of the criticism over his Cabinet appointments? Will they ask questions about what Chuck Hagel’s appointment says about the Obama administration’s posture on Iran? I’d guess yes to the first, and no to the second, but maybe someone will surprise me. Keep an eye on Jake Tapper’s replacement in the gaggle, Jonathan Karl, to see if he will continue Tapper’s tradition of nonpartisan scrutiny.
Update: The start of the presser has been pushed back to 11:30 ET.