August was supposed to be the time when a major immigration bill would land on the desk of President Barack Obama.
Instead, Obama finds his fifth year in office beset by distractions, perhaps none with broader implications than the revelation of secret government surveillance programs.
That matter dominated Obama's hourlong news conference Friday. The issues that the White House had hoped to be promoting this summer? They played a diminished role, if at all.
The president set the tone, opening the session by announcing that he would work with Congress to make "appropriate reforms" to the National Security Agency surveillance programs. He also made clear that he had no intention of stopping the daily collection of Americans' phone records.