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President Barack Obama, faced with mounting criticism of his administration's response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, is set to travel to the region on Friday. Before he does, though, he will address the press and field questions on Thursday at 12:45. The president is expected to propose stronger oversight of rig inspections and drilling permits after the Interior Department delivers a report on the spill and the safety of offshore drilling.

Watch the president's press conference here live.