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rosco 357

Jun 22 01:28 PM US/Eastern

US President Barack Obama will hold a press conference on Tuesday, as Iran's political crisis deepens, North Korea threatens, and a key moment looms for his ambitious domestic reform drive.

Five months into a presidency which began amid the depths of the worst economic misery in decades, Obama will confront the media in the Rose Garden of the White House at 12:30 p.m. (1630 GMT), officials said.

It will be Obama's fourth formal solo news conference since taking office in January and his first since the end of April, when he went before the cameras to mark his symbolic first 100 Days in office.

The appearance will be a chance for the president to ignite new momentum behind his effort to pass sweeping healthcare reform, as a narrative among pundits and the press builds that his "honeymoon" period is beginning to wane.

Global crises are also pressing in on the president, and he will likely face a flurry of national security questions.

Obama has adopted a careful stance on Iran, which has hardened as violence increased in Tehran, but he will be under pressure to directly address the latest developments that have followed the disputed elections there.

He will also likely have to parry questions on North Korea's latest belligerent challenges to the United States.

In an interview broadcast on Monday on CBS, Obama said that Washington was "fully prepared" for a potential missile test launch by Pyongyang in the direction of Hawaii.

A parallel drama is unfolding off the coast of China as a US navy ship tracks a North Korean vessel suspected of carrying missile parts in violation of UN resolutions.

On the domestic front, Obama on Monday took time to build support for his massive healthcare reform plan, which is facing rising opposition from Republicans, and some Democrats in Congress.

The president flashed defiance, and delved into the political imagery of his 2008 election campaign in a bid to dispel pessimism over the bid to offer all Americans health care -- long a thwarted goal of Democratic presidents.

"Our families, our businesses and our long-term fiscal health demands that we act and act now," Obama said, as he announced an agreement at the White House to lower the costs of drugs for elderly medical patients.

"To those here in Washington who've grown accustomed to sky-is-falling prognoses and the certainties that we cannot get this done, I have to repeat and revive an old saying we had from the campaign -- Yes, we can.

"We are going to get this done."

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