Obama to hold press conference Friday

President Barack Obama
CBS/The Early Show
Barack Obama
Then-Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. speaks during a news conference at a gas station in Indianapolis, Friday, April 25, 2008.

President Obama will hold a press conference at the White House at 11:15 a.m. Eastern Time tomorrow, a senior white house advisor tells CBS News. (Update, March 11 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern: The press conference has now been postponed to 12:30 p.m.)

"The president will hold a news conference at the White House tomorrow to talk about rising energy prices among other issues," the advisor said.

Republicans today criticized the president for his energy policy in the wake of rising gas prices, which have risen amid unrest in the Middle East. House Speaker John Boehner said that "the Obama Administration has consistently blocked American energy production that would lower costs and create new jobs."

Some Democrats, meanwhile, are pushing the president to open the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to increase supply and lower prices.

The White House counters criticism by noting that 2010 saw the largest increase in domestic energy production since 2003. White House press secretary Jay Carney disputed Boehner's comments at his press briefing Thursday, pointing out that the Obama administration has issued 37 new offshore shallow water oil drilling permits since the BP oil spill, as well as one deep water permit. He said the administration is committed to more oil production in addition to pursuing other forms of energy production.

Gas prices are near $4 per gallon in many areas, and the average across the country has gone above $3.50 per gallon. Prices are expected to rise even higher over the summer. Rising gas prices became a major issue during Mr. Obama's presidential campaign, with supporters of the McCain/Palin Republican ticket chanting "drill, baby, drill" at campaign events. 

Other topics likely to come up at the news conference are the situation in Libya, negotiations over funding the government and battles over the rights of unions in Wisconsin and elsewhere.

This will be Mr. Obama's 13th formal, solo White House news conference, CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller reports. The last was on Feb 15th.