President Barack Obama huddles Tuesday with top labor union and progressive group leaders to get their take on the best way to handle the looming "fiscal cliff"—a toxic blend of tax hikes, spending cuts and end of long-term unemployment benefits.
The get-together will occur behind closed doors one day before Obama hosts business leaders for similar discussions—which will also take place behind closed doors—and ahead of talks on Friday with top Democratic and Republican congressional leaders. The bulk of those discussions will also take place in private.
In the middle of these various meetings, the president on Wednesday will hold his first press conference since June. While the fiscal cliff is sure to come up, that session is expected to focus heavily on the scandal that apparently drove CIA Director David Petraeus from office and seems to have ensnared the top military commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen. Other likely questions will cover the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the American compound in Benghazi, Libya. And reporters are nearly sure to ask about turnover in other key administration positions. The White House drew heat last week for ignoring tradition and not holding a postelection press conference. That decision, however, now gives reporters a prime opportunity to question the commander in chief about the Petraeus scandal, which erupted over the weekend.
Here, according to the White House, are the labor and business leaders sitting down with Obama in the West Wing's Roosevelt Room: