This is not what the White House wanted for President Barack Obama’s first news conference since winning a second term.
He won’t be able to dwell much on his stronger-than-expected victory or even press his agenda for the next four years. Instead, he’ll be diverted by a Washington sex scandal.
The fallout from former CIA Director David Petraeus’s extramarital affair has spawned the type of sensational media feeding frenzy that Obama detests. But when he holds his first full-scale news conference in eight months Wednesday, Obama will have to explain how he plans to re-create his national security team, what he knows about the burgeoning scandal and why he didn’t get wind of it sooner.
It’ll probably leave him longing to talk more about the fiscal cliff, the less titillating storyline of the week.
Here is POLITICO’s cheat sheet of questions that the president is likely to face:
1. Do you believe the FBI should have told you and Congress sooner about the investigation that led Gen. Petraeus to resign?
Members of Congress’s intelligence committees are outraged that they weren’t told until Friday — moments before Petraeus resigned — that he’d been the subject of a months-long FBI investigation that delved into his private emails and exposed his extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.
Obama learned of the inquiry only one day earlier.