Follow President Obama’s press conference here live from 11am Washington time, with Washington Bureau Chief Edward Luce.
12:23pm - Most of the pundits expected a press conference that would be more dominated by the president’s economic woes in the context of the upcoming mid-term elections. Certainly that was a key part of it – and the least convincing in terms of the president’s performance.
But in the event, the real theme that emerged was about 9/11, Afghanistan, the crazy pastor in Florida and the need to treat American Muslims as brothers and sisters. It was striking how good, impassioned and convincing President Obama was on the second half of the 77 minute press conference that was dominated by the Islam theme (for want of a better heading) against the very familiar and unconvincing answers he gave on the economy in the first half. As the conference moved from the first to the second, President Obama appeared to pick up the energy, verve and persuasiveness that had been so lacking in the first half.