Robert L. Gibbs

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White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs

Robert L. Gibbs (born March 29, 1971 in Auburn, Alabama) was the White House Press Secretary, serving President Obama and David Axelrod, Obama's chief political strategist, from January 20, 2009, until February 11, 2011.

A native of Alabama and graduate of North Carolina State University, Gibbs worked in numerous senatorial campaigns for Democrats, including Obama's 2004 Senate campaign. He was the communications manager of Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.

Gibbs, who is known for his political acumen and sharp tongue, says he's focused and will try to be an "honest broker" between the media and Obama.

Respect and temperament issues

He has been known to have temperament issues, not always staying calm under pressure. Since the fall of 2008 concern has existed that a future role as White House press secretary would challenge this aspect of his personality.[1]

After Rick Santelli criticized the administration's mortgage bailout on February 19, 2009, Gibbs "struck back with a level of poorly concealed fury and contempt." [2] Gibbs told Santelli during a White House press briefing to, "download it, hit print and begin to read it." According to Kudlow, Gibbs's remarks in this situation were an "unprecedented Whitehouse assault on a member of the media in good standing." Kudlow went on to say that there is a "freedom issue", "a respect issue", "a bullying issue", "Does this mean that is how this Whitehouse in an Obama administration is going to react to criticism from the media?", and "This is the worst Whitehouse press relations I've seen in my lifetime."[3]

Gibbs has also criticized CNBC reporter Jim Cramer after Cramer stated in regards to Obama's policies, "This is the greatest wealth destruction I've seen by a President." [4]

Trying to be funny and mock an upcoming conservative star, Gibbs writes on is hand as Sarah Palin did. To Gibbs it's ok to put-down conservatives but he would never take a jab at the extensive use of teleprompters by Barack Oabama.

Attacks on Paul Krugman

Nobel Laureate in Economics, Dr. Paul Krugman,[5] has been the object of much scorn and derision engineered by Robert Gibbs. Krugman is regarded by many as an eloquent voice of opposition to President George W. Bush. Gibbs authored an article published on which a critic concludes "the implication must be that Krugman's either a complete idiot who forgot what he said or that he's changed his words due to some sort of unethical or under-handed motive."

A political operative poses in front of mass murderer Che Guevara poster during the 2008 Presidential Campaign of Barack Obama which Gibbs served as communications director; [1] the same operative [2] falsely represented herself as a physician during a townhall meeting on healthcare reform in 2009. [3]

The same critic cites Gibbs as "the face and spokesperson for the front group that attacked Howard Dean in Iowa with one of the most despicable TV ads of our times."[6]

Prepackaged questions and a controlled media

Healthcare reform

Main article: Obamacare

During a White House Press Conference Helen Thomas and Chip Reid of CBS had a heated exchange with Gibbs over the Obama administration's attempts to control media events.

At an “online town hall” Reid asked how there was supposedly questions from the public but the White House selected which questions it would accept. Reid asked Gibbs, "the concept of a town hall I think is to have a open public forum, and this sounds like a very tightly controlled audience and a list of questions. Why do it that way? Why not open it up to the public?”

An Obama disinformation specialist poses as a physician at a townhall meeting staged for the public on Obamacare with Democratic Representative Sheila Jackson Lee. [4]

Thomas, who has served in the White House Press Corps for over half a century, intervened; “We have never had that in the White House. I’m amazed that you people … call for openness and transparency.” Thomas said the Obama administration was trying to control the media, and that they coordinated questions with the Huffington Post at a press conference. Thomas noted, “[Obama's] formal engagements are prepackaged.”

After Gibbs continued to dodge questions, Thomas said, “Of course you would, because you don’t have any answers.” Thomas commented to CNSNews that Obama's grip on the media is even greater than that of Richard Nixon.[7][8]

Jobsgate scandal

For a more detailed treatment, see Jobsgate.
Joe Sestak alleges the Obama administration offered the second-term congressman a "high-ranking" job if he would abandon his primary challenge against Senator Arlen Specter, which is against the law. Gibbs had been asked on five different occasions regarding the matter but has misled or stonewalled the issue. Anybody else on the Obama White House staff, including Robert Gibbs, who currently knows what has happened and has not reported it to the proper authorities may find themselves guilty of misprision of a felony.[9]

In May 2010 when asked about the questionable activity, Gibbs responded, "I don't have anything to add to what I said in March." When a reporter pointed out that Gibbs did not provide any substantive information in March - other than to say the issue was "not problematic" - Gibbs again said he didn't "have anything to add" and repeated that line five times before cutting off further questions.[10]

Slow response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster

Main article: Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster

After a 21 May 2010 White House Press Conference in which Gibbs faced a barrage of questions about why the Obama administration wasn't doing more to ensure the Gulf of Mexico oil leak is plugged and mitigate the environmental damage to the coastline, Chip Reid of CBS reported that White House officials called reporters into the West Wing to scold them for asking too many questions. Gibbs was reported to be the one doing the scolding. The White House Press Office battled for weeks the common perception that the government did not responded forcefully enough to the disaster, relied too much on BP, and was playing the role of spectator.[11]


  5. Economics 2008. Retrieved from 10 May 2010.
  6. Obama attacking Paul Krugman's credibility, Jerome Armstrong, Dec 07, 2007. Retrieved from 30 May 2010.
  9. Specter Opens Door on White House Felonies, American Spectator P.4, March 16, 2010
  10. Gibbs Cracks Whip as Administration Faces New Criticism, FOXNews, 26 May 2010.
  11. Gibbs Cracks Whip as Administration Faces New Criticism, FOXNews, 26 May 2010.

Further reading

External links