(Live Stream below) On Wednesday at 1:30pm, President Obama will hold a press conference with the White House press corps. Obama is expected to field questions concerning former CIA Director David Petraeus, who abruptly resigned Friday after it was revealed he had been having an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. On Thursday, Petraeus will testify behind closed doors in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee about September's deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The Petraeus scandal has widened to Marine General John Allen — the top American commander in Afghanistan — who is under investigation for thousands of pages-worth of "flirtatious" emails with a Tampa socialite named Jill Kelley.
2:26pm: Obama tried to end press conference, but as always reporters shouted questions out. Obama stayed to listen to one of them patiently as if he were going to answer it. He replied by saying it was a great question, but that he would be setting a "horrible precedent" if he were to answer it just because a reported shouted it out. SHUT. DOWN. Press conference over.
2:25pm: President says U.S. is not prepared to recognize the Syrian rebels as a kind of government-in-exile. Good call, as there is virtually no diplomatic or international legal basis for such a call, regardless of how brutal the Assad regime has been.
2:23pm: Obama is asked if the U.S. will recognize and arm the rebels in Syria. The president notes the hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid that has been sent to Syrians.
2:18pm: Obama says the country needs to do more to address climate change; lists the measures his administration implemented in his first term. Says he will meet with scientists, engineers, and elected officials to determine what more can be done to address the problem.
2:16pm: Obama says he will not be constrained by "diplomatic niceties" when dealing with Iran and its nuclear program.
2:15pm: Obama says he will try to make a push in the coming months to try to open up a dialogue between Iran, the U.S., and other countries.
2:14pm: Obama: Step one we can take is to provide certainty to 98% of families and 97% of small businesses by extending the Bush tax cuts for them. Step two is closing loopholes and dealing with entitlements.
2:11pm: Obama says, "The federal government can make a difference," pointing to the federal response to Sandy.
2:07pm: Ed Henry asks Obama to address the families of the Benghazi victims. President says he's not going to address them through the press, but directly, as he already has.
2:05pm: Obama says that if he thought Rice would be able to do the job as Secretary of State, he would nominate her regardless of what GOP senators said.
2:04pm: Obama asked about press conference held today by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC), in which they called for extensive hearings on the Benghazi attack, and also said they would never vote to confirm UN Ambassador Susan Rice if she were appointed by Obama to Secretary of State. Obama seems visibly angry. Says Rice had nothing to do with Benghazi. Calls the rhetoric "outrageous."
2:01pm: Obama: the American people don't want to see the focus on the next election, but rather, on them. Oh, those selfish Americans!
1:59pm: Has anyone ever really learned anything important from a presidential press conference? Ever?
1:55pm: Obama says he understands that Republicans will never accept his budget; says it's not realistic to expect that, but that compromises must be made and that not everyone will get everything they want.
1:53pm: Who's the child sitting next to Chuck Todd at this press conference? Is she from Fox & Friends?
1:49pm: In American politics has the phrase "children of illegal immigrants," ever NOT been succeeded by the phrase, "who, through no fault of their own"?
1:48pm: And the Telemundo reporter asks about the tax rate on capital gains! I kid. She asked about immigration reform. Obama says he's "confident" his administration can enact reform on this.
1:45pm: CNN's Jessica Yellin with a completely vacuous question. Asks whether "closing loopholes" would be sufficient by itself instead of extending tax cuts for the top 2% of income earners. Which loopholes? Doubtful Yellin has any in mind. "Closing loopholes" is simply a vague stand-in for provisions in the tax codes that, in order to be changed, heaven and earth would have to be moved.
1:44pm: President says half of the fiscal cliff danger would be removed by passing tax cut extensions for the bottom 98% of income earners.
1:40pm: Asked about the FBI's protocol in the matter, Obama tells reporter he'll have to ask the FBI about that. Well, the FBI is after all part of the executive branch. So basically, the executive branch just said that the executive branch would have better information concerning the reporter's question.
1:39pm: First question is about the Petraeus scandal, and whether national security was compromised. Obama denies that it was. Obama praises Petraeus, says the country is safer because of his work.
1:37pm: The president says the middle class should not be "held hostage" while Washington wrangles over tax cuts for the wealthy.
1:35pm: Obama has chosen to start the conference by discussing fiscal issues and his proposal to raise revenues. Notes that if Congress fails to act by the end of the year, everyone's taxes will go up.
1:34pm: Obama has started his 20th press conference as president. Opens by saying, "I hear you've got some questions for me." Oh, that Obama!
Obama is also expected to take questions concerning the coming fiscal cliff at the end of the year. Democrats were hoping that Obama's reelection would give the president a mandate to implement his agenda, which includes allowing the Bush tax cut extensions to expire at the end of the year for those making $250,000 per year. Congressional Republicans have said that they will not agree to any tax cut extensions if the top 2% of income earners are not included.