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White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs Bashes 'Liberal Naysayers' who Fault Obama

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In an interview published Tuesday in the Hill newspaper, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs let rip his frustration at "liberal naysayers" who have criticized President Obama's policies as being insufficiently left wing. "I hear these people saying he's like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested," Gibbs said. "I mean, it's crazy."

The Obama administration has been faulted by the left for the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a lack of a public option in the health care reform package, not yet having closed the prison at Guantanamo Bay, a financial regulation reform bill deemed not aggressive enough, stalled efforts on climate change legislation and for being perceived as not supportive enough on gay rights issues, including same-sex marriage, the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and federal funding for HIV and AIDS programs.

The White House, for its part, appeared to be baffled by claims it has not pursued an aggressive strategy. "There's 101 things we've done," said Gibbs in the Hill interview, citing Iraq and health care.

Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton echoed this message in a press conference later on Tuesday, but insisted that outside criticism was not taken too seriously inside the White House:

"When you look at some of this things this administration has been able to do from ending the combat mission in Iraq to comprehensive health care reform, to equal pay, to financial regulatory reform, to what we're doing today to save 160,000 teacher jobs -- is there ever some frustration from anyone who works in this building about the way it's being covered? Sure. But that doesn't distract us from the serious work we have to do."

The White House seemed to be of the view that what Gibbs termed the "professional left" -- pundits and left wing media -- was not representative of progressives who helped elect Obama. According to the Hill, Gibbs said that, "Progressives are the liberals outside of Washington 'in America,' and they are grateful for what Obama has accomplished." Burton reiterated this, saying, "I think you have to separate out what folks say on cable TV from what progressives around the country think about how things are going."

To the actual concerns from the left, Burton said, "The president has spent his first 20 months doing exactly what he said he was going to do on a wide range of issues." While he characterized concerns about health care and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as "legitimate," Burton attributed any rifts as largely "disagreements on pace, or disagreements on what goes in what order." Such differences are inherent to the Democratic Party, he suggested, saying, "There's a strength in the diversity of opinions that democrats have...That's something we're proud of."

For a White House that has found itself the target of intense right wing criticism for nearly everything it does these days -- especially in the run-up to the midterm elections -- the arrows from the left have likely been annoying, if not particularly stinging. Burton, however, downplayed any outrage.

"I think it's possible to overstate this conversation that Gibbs had with a reporter. And to overstate the importance of this conversation." He continued, "In this case, yeah, every single person in this building -- including the one who lives here -- at times can be frustrated with the way things are covered. But it's pretty minor compared to the hard work that we're actually doing."

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TemujinMSM

Obama has a very difficult job. However he has not kept all of his campaign promises. Guantanamo Bay is still open. In general Obama has tried way to hard to make friends with Republicans. They will never accept you. Some of them are racists. Others will just attack him because he is the democratic president and they are hoping to destroy peoples confidence in him in order to take back the presidency and perhaps more importantly the house and senate. So it really doesn't matter what Obama does. In general I would say the excitement the courage and idealism Obama displayed in his campaign is missing. Frankly he is becoming boring. Its a good thing we have a healthcare bill so progress is being made. A lot of people feel that they have been lied to though on this Afghanistan war. Not literally maybe more in an emotional sense. He portrayed himself as a principled objector to the war in Iraq who would be cautious but ultimately a peace candidate. Now there are less troops in Iraq, but there are more troops on foreign soil than under Bush. To the average American sick of these wars it doesn't seem like a real difference. We still have more than a hundred thousand troops on foreign soil getting killed and injured and there's still a sense that we are in some sort of crusade against Islam that will only help to encourage more terrorism as well as accumulate more and more blood of innocents on our hands. Sure most of the civilian deaths are accidental but thats a poor excuse. The casualties for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are relatively low to be blunt, but what in the hell are they for? Can Obama explain that? Its not a fight for democracy because we are propping up a corrupt president who stole the election and whos brother is one of Afghanistan's biggest drug dealers. While our soldiers die fighting against the drug cartels. This is really a stab in the heart to all those that truly support our troops. He recieved the Nobel Peace Prize and used the speech to essentially call the philosophy of earlier recipients like Dr King and Gandhi obsolete. I suppose Dr King would be proud America had a black president but I don't think he would be proud of much of what Obama is doing. The bailout, this is obviously a pet issue of the Tea Party and Republicans, but that is a lie. Bush started the bailouts Obama jsut finished. Though I have never been one to think of things in a rigid left wing right wing way being Being anti handouts to corrupt bankers is certainly something a lot of left wing people are. Republicans are almost stronger now than when Bush was president and Republicans and the angry grumpy white folks of the Tea Party are anti Obama for all the wrong reasons, Obama is certainly some change I still consider myself to be a sopporter but an increasingly skeptical one. Im tired of all this talk of bipartisanship, the local paper where I live, The Seattle Times, keeps talking about how its good when Democrats or Republicans cross party lines or whatever. I tend to disagree. We would not admire a soccer player who kicked the ball into his own teams goal because he wasn't "partisan" We don't have to hate just agree to disagree, being from one party but acting like the other is a ripoff to the people that elected you. It would serve Obama well if he appealed more to the so called left wing base before the 2012 election. Although many of Obamas "left wing" supporters can't really be described as being left wing or any wing because many of them are new to being politically involved. Some were turning 18 and 19 and voting for a president for the first time others were in there mid twenties or middle aged or even elderly and had not bothered to be politically involved before being swept up in the hope and the excitement of the Obama campaign. Some that voted for them are in fact Republicans or independents. Most of them were hoping for big change and big courage

August 12 2010 at 10:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
truthforfreedom

I think Gibbs is beginning to show signs of wear and tear. He is so desparate to defend his boss that he has become clouded in emotion. Keep a grip Mr. Gibbs.

August 11 2010 at 10:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kenneth

Did you actually expect to say this administration is doing anything wrong! That would be like a produce store saying their apples were rotten!!

August 10 2010 at 9:58 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Gina

Oh by the way, dimwits.. Gibbs NEVER said "fall in line or else." He said to stop bawling.

August 10 2010 at 8:28 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Gina's comment
Arielle

It was folks in the Bush White House that were very clear that one was "either with us or with the terrorists"...I've never heard that sentiment expressed from this administration. In fact, the only complaint I have about them is that they've been FAR too conciliatory toward the Right wing.

I've seen NONE of the things that the majority (GOP) did to the minority (Democrats) during the Bush administration. I've seen no locked committee meetings, I've seen no calls to the Capitol police trying to get their opposition removed from the building for complaining about being locked out of committee meetings, and MOST of all, I've seen no threats of a "Nuclear Option" to take away the one piece of power that the minority has in a government like ours...the Filibuster. During the Bush years, every single time the Left even THREATENED a Filibuster, the threats to take it away came like quicksilver and every time, the Left backed down. At first I was horrified that such threats could even be made by decent people...then I realized that was the problem. I was expecting "decency" from the Right, which is CLEARLY not capable of it.

Now I find myself wishing they HAD taken away the damn Filibuster...then it wouldn't be able to be there, being horribly abused now. Those on the Right are nothing but hateful hypocrites, and this Alex Wagner woman is their lead cheerleader.

Wise up America...or it will be too late.

August 13 2010 at 11:42 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
amicusceo

"There's a strength in the diversity of opinions that democrats have...That's something we're proud of."

Mr. Burton, The Democrats have a "diversity of opinion" only if they are democratic opinions, and that leads to a left wing opinon only which denies diversity.

August 10 2010 at 7:48 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
firstad

mendaciouslib - FULLY INTACT? Homeland Security has radically altered the monitoring of AT&T incoming Pacific fiber optic in 30 locations along the west coast. All wiretaps are now issued by judges and authorized, on the record. Water boarding and secret rendition by the CIA was ordered stopped. Now unless you have been in some prison with the CIA helping them drown some terrorist, I believe the Obama administration and not you. As to the far left demands, they are just going to have to learn patience. The job will get done.

August 10 2010 at 7:44 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
judiandbob84

Accusing people of being on drugs ... who happen to have different opinions than those of Press-man Gibbs (or the administration) ... is like saying "free speech" is only allowed by them. Thanks for constantly exposing the truth by means of your lies.

August 10 2010 at 7:38 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
amicusceo

"... is there ever some frustration from anyone who works in this building about the way it's being covered? Sure. But that doesn't distract us from the serious work we have to do."

How "serious" work gets done when the president is on vacation all the time?
Normally when a new hire starts working for a company they have to earn their vaction time (usually after 1 year of work) then they would have "earned" one or two weeks vacation time.

This president and family have taken more vactions in less than two years than I have in 37 years of work. I think this president has his priorities screwd up.

August 10 2010 at 7:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to amicusceo's comment
ccooperosa

That is not true and you know it. President Obama is the hardest working President I have ever seen. He is never on vacation. He is always working on trying to do everything he said he would do and he goes to other countries as part of his job. Bush, on the other hand, was on a permanent vacation as President and golfed all the time and did not care about what the United Nations or the American people thought of him. Bush didn't do anything but lie to everyone just like the radical right is doing now. At least we now have an intelligent President. President Obama has his priorities in the right place and the radical right needs to quit whining and placing the blame on President Obama for our countries woes. We know he didn't destroy our economy upon becoming the President of the United States. That was already done by your hero, Bush.

August 10 2010 at 8:57 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jspe7

Where were you when Bush was setting all kinds of records for vacation time
He was even on vacation when he was in the White House. You certainly can not say that he was working very hard for the good of the country. Sorry, he was, making sure that the rich got more and more
get your facts straight

August 10 2010 at 9:01 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
catalogsplus

Gee, that's subtle. Basically he is screeching 'get back in line' or you will be sorry!

August 10 2010 at 7:04 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply

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