Facing anger over corporate bonuses and skepticism about his massive budget, President Barack Obama holds a news conference on Tuesday to explain his economic strategy to a recession-weary public.
The news conference comes a day after Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced details of a public-private plan to help rid banks of $1 trillion in assets whose uncertain value plunged the global economy into crisis.
Markets jumped 7 percent on the news, but some experts questioned whether the plan would work. Obama, who called the move one more critical element in our recovery, was likely to address the plan and other economic issues at the evening news conference on Tuesday.
The president ... believes that a continued dialogue with the American people about where we are and where we're going is necessary, certainly in times like this, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.
They may or may not like all the decisions that he makes, but I think he believes it's important that they understand why he's making the decisions that he is, he told a briefing.
The news conference, his first since February 9 and second since taking office, follows a difficult week for the president, who was hit with public outrage over the payment of $165 million in executive bonuses by insurance giant AIG after it received billions in taxpayer bailout money.
Obama was forced to repeatedly condemn the bonuses in different forums throughout the week while fending off calls for Geithner's resignation because his department was aware in advance of the payments.
DISTRACTION FROM THE BUDGET
The furor over the bonuses distracted attention from Obama's effort to build support for a huge $3.55 trillion budget for the 2010 fiscal year.
The president views the budget as central to his effort to lift the economy out of the worst recession in decades and lay the groundwork for future growth by making major investments in renewable energy, education and healthcare reform.
Republicans in Congress and some of Obama's fellow Democrats complained the spending outline was too costly, with deficits of $1.75 trillion this fiscal year and $1.17 trillion next fiscal year.
But Obama defended the priorities in his radio address on Saturday, saying the were not a wish list picked out of thin air.
They are a central part of a comprehensive strategy to grow this economy by attacking the very problems that have dragged it down for too long, he said.
The president is likely to face questions about financial regulatory reform, the upcoming summit of the Group of 20 developed and developing countries and his overture to Iran.
During a trip to Capitol Hill on Thursday, Geithner will elaborate on the administration's plans for regulatory reform, the White House said. Obama has promised to implement reforms to avert a recurrence of the present crisis, and the issue is expected to come up at the G20 summit in April.
Obama, who has said he was willing to talk to Iran, made an overture to the Islamic Republic with a video message marking the Iranian New Year last week. Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, responded that Tehran wanted to see a real change in U.S. behavior rather than talk.