President Barack Obama’s first full news conference in five months has nothing, nothing whatsoever, to do with upstaging the GOP on Super Tuesday, to hear White House officials tell it.

Of course, nobody outside the four walls of the West Wing really buys that, for one basic reason. It makes a lot of sense to be standing, in a nice suit, in front of the presidential podium talking about international diplomacy at the very moment your would-be opponents are engaging in a desperate and unsightly scramble over 417 delegates in 10 states.

“Obama has always been hyper-reactive to the politics of the moment, so the timing of the press-conference is absolutely not a surprise,” said Kevin Madden, an adviser to Mitt Romney. “But you’d think the president would try and be a little less obvious by now.”

Obvious or not, taking unscripted questions from the press is never an entirely predictable exercise, even in its tame, choreographed East Room format. And that’s another possible reason why Obama and Co. timed their presser for Tuesday: If he stumbles it might be buried by all the drama from the Republican food fight.

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