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Biden Claims Achievements but Also Asks for Patience in News Conference

01-19-2022
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President Joe Biden. (AP Photo)

The ongoing military tensions with Russia and the rising inflation affecting American pocketbooks will likely be among the topics President Joe Biden will face in a rare national news conference Wednesday afternoon. 

The president is scheduled to take the podium in the White House's East Room at 4:00 pm Eastern, on his 365th day in office. 

Although he gave no indication that he felt a "public reset" was in order, he faces questions from the White House press corps on the same day that Democrats' efforts on voting rights legislation appeared to fail in Congress, along with a massive social spending package that remains stalled. 

Watch the President's news conference, scheduled to begin at 4:00 pm Eastern:

Just one-year after taking the oath of office, Biden will attempt to spotlight his accomplishments to a national audience. He's sure to mention the bipartisan infrastructure law and tout what he perceives to be his administration's progress in fighting COVID-19. 

But the nation is currently gripped by another disruptive surge of virus cases and inflation is at a level not seen in a generation. Biden's approval rating has plunged to 33 percent -- his lowest numbers ever -- as his administration continues to be haunted by the pandemic, the skyrocketing cost of living, and an increase in violent crime across the country. 

Plus, if Biden can't turn things around, Democrats are bracing for a potential Republican rout in the 2022 midterm elections. 
 
Biden has held just six solo news conferences during his first year in office. The ongoing threat from COVID-19 will be evident at Wednesday's press event. A limited number of reporters will be allowed to attend, and all will have to be tested for the virus and wear masks.

The White House said Biden would use his appearance to highlight progress but also to "level" with the public about the challenges ahead and promising dogged work to deliver on promises he has made.

Senate Democratic whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill) encouraged Biden to be "honest and realistic" in his comments to Americans.

"We have to have an agenda that is not only appealing to the voters but is realistic on Capitol Hill," Durbin said. "It's OK to have an ambitious agenda, but it has to come down to the harsh reality of producing votes."

Former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs called on Biden to acknowledge Americans' anxieties.

"President Biden needs to reassure Americans he understands their economic concerns, particularly around inflation, and that his administration is focused on getting the country back to normal by increasing testing availability, working to keep schools and businesses open, and giving clearer guidance around COVID," he said.

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