President Barack Obama scheduled a news conference for late Wednesday morning, his first formal question-and-answer session since high-stakes debt and budget negotiations began.

Obama was expected to open with comments about spurring the economy and job growth, and touch on the deficit talks that have occupied Vice President Joe Biden and congressional leaders over the past several weeks.

Obama's last full-blown news conference was in March, when turmoil in Libya and the threatened shutdown of the government were making headlines. He has since answered questions in brief sessions with reporters during a European trip and during a joint White House appearance with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Wednesday's news conference comes amid persistent signals that the economic recovery has slowed. Obama has been stepping up his promotion of job creation initiatives amid evidence that the state of the economy has weakened his job approval standing with the public. Obama, no doubt, will also have to address the status of negotiations with Congress over long-term deficit reduction and an increase in the nation's borrowing limit.

The president is also likely to face foreign policy questions. For the past three months, the U.S. has participated in NATO strikes against Moammar Gadhafi's forces in Libya, raising questions in Congress about the effectiveness and even the legality of the mission.

Obama also recently announced a drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, prompting criticism by some lawmakers that he was not pulling enough forces out and by others that he was acting too precipitously.