President Obama has scheduled a news conference to begin at 11:30AM ET. You can watch it in the live feed embedded below and join the conversation in the comments. We'll also be providing live updates throughout the broadcast:
8:31 AM PT: Brian Williams saying the start time is "sliding" but he didn't say by how much.
8:36 AM PT: If you're looking for live coverage of the Casey Anthony trial, you've reached the wrong site. Still waiting for start of POTUS presser.
8:39 AM PT: Here we go. Opening remarks expected to focus on economy and debt limit.
8:42 AM PT: In his opening remarks, Obama calls for Congress to immediately pass patent reform, loans for infrastructure projects, trade deals, and to extend the middle class tax cuts for another year. It wasn't clear to me if he meant the middle income portion of the Bush tax cuts due to expire at the end of 2012 or the payroll tax cuts due to expire at the end of this year. I suspect the latter.
8:46 AM PT: On the debt talks, Obama says his administration has agreed to significant spending cuts, but that a comprehensive deal needs to look at the whole budget. He said that means we need to look at defense spending, entitlements, and spending in the tax code. He said he opposes any tax hikes on middle class families, reiterating his call for extending middle class tax cuts, but says it's time to get rid of special deductions and exemptions for millionaires and billionaires and wealthy corporations. He says not getting rid of those tax benefits for the wealthy would mean children and the elderly would end up paying. "I don't think that's real radical," he says. "I think the majority of Americans agree with the that."
8:47 AM PT: Obama begins to close his opening remarks by expressing optimism that Democrats and Republicans can get a deal, saying he and Biden will work "as long as it takes" and promising "we will get a deal."
8:52 AM PT: First question is whether a deal must include the revenue provisions Obama outlined in his opening statement, pointing out that Republicans have flatly refused to accept the proposal. Obama's answer is that there is no way to get a meaningful deficit deal done that isn't balanced—including both spending cuts and revenue raisers. He says that Democrats have already agreed to spending cuts, that he's already put defense cuts on the table, that reducing spending in Medicare without cost-shifting needs to be on the table. But he also says revenue needs to be part of the equation, and if everybody else is willing to put sacred cows on the table, Republicans won't be able to sustain their opposition. Basically his argument is that the GOP is in an untenable position politically and must cave. Top earners have low taxes now and they can afford it. "You can still ride on your corporate jet, you're just going to need to pay a little more," he says.
8:54 AM PT: Chuck Todd asks if War Powers Act is constitutional, if debt limit is constitutional, and if marriage equality is a civil right.
8:59 AM PT: Obama answer War Powers Act question by focusing on Libya, arguing the mission was a humanitarian one and did not involve any boots on the ground and was entirely focused on stopping a slaughter in Libya. There haven't been any U.S. casualties he says, and we aren't getting any more deeply involved, and, he says, the entire process has been transparent with the public and Congress. He says the criticism from Republicans is basically just politics. He says the War Powers Act is not operative in the case, and that instead of playing politics, we should send a unified message about standing up to Gaddafi.
9:02 AM PT: On marriage equality, Obama starts out by saying he's done more to defend GLBT civil rights than any president in history. He also points out he has said the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. He said what happened in New York was "a good thing" without specifically saying he supports marriage equality.
9:02 AM PT: Was that the first time a president has ever said "transgender" in a national news conference?
9:03 AM PT: Obama never got around to the debt limit question.
9:09 AM PT: On the relationship between debt and economic development, Obama says reducing the deficit is only part of his vision of economic growth. We still need to spend/invest on infrastructure to create jobs and "win the future," he says. He notes other sorts of programs: capital gains tax cuts for small biz startups; SBA loans; expanding trade. Bottom-line, he says: "Deficit and debt reduction should be seen as part" of the overall economic strategy. But not the only part. "We can focus on jobs at the same time that we're focusing on deficit and debt reduction." He segues into business regulation. The questioner also asked about the NLRB decision on Boeing. He said he doesn't want to talk about the specific case because the NLRB is independent. Talking generally, he says businesses have the right to relocate within the country, and that he'd rather have them relocate inside the U.S. than leave the country.
9:11 AM PT: Random thought: The next time there's a press conference as exciting as this one, I hope I remember to bring a pillow so I can enjoy the ZZZZZ.