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Robert Gibbs Stepping Down as White House Press Secretary

3 years ago
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White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs will step down in a few weeks, Politics Daily has confirmed, but he will remain active as a member of President Obama's inner circle as the 2012 re-election campaign ramps up.

Gibbs, 39, plans to hop on the paid speaking circuit, giving him a chance to make more money; he said at the Wednesday briefing -- an unusually long 75 minute session where his departure next month was a major subject -- that he has no plans to write a book in "the near future."

At the briefing, Gibbs looked ahead. "What I'm going to do next is step back a little bit, recharge some. We've been going at this pace for at least four years. I will have an opportunity I hope to give some speeches. I will continue to provide advice and counsel to this building and to this president. And I look forward to continuing to do that."

Gibbs gave the scoop about his long-rumored departure to the New York Times' Jeff Zeleny. "Stepping back will take some adjusting," Gibbs said in an interview Wednesday morning. "But at the same time, I have a feeling that I will keep myself quite busy, not just with speaking, but continuing to help the president."

In the coming days the White House will be announcing a string of staff changes as part of a midterm shake-up, including whether Pete Rouse, the interim chief of staff, stays on the job or is replaced by William Daley, a former commerce secretary and brother of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. Contrary to some reports, no others are under consideration for the post. Rahm Emanuel stepped down as chief of staff in November to run for mayor of Chicago.

On Wednesday, First Lady Michelle Obama announced that she has tapped another Chicagoan --Tina Tchen -- as her new chief of staff. Tchen is the White House deputy assistant to the president and director of the Office of Public Engagement, and is executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls.

On Tuesday, Vice President Biden said that his chief of staff, Ron Klain, will be leaving. No replacement yet has been named.

Gibbs started working for Obama when the latter was running for an Illinois Senate seat in 2004, hooking up with him through David Axelrod -- a senior White House adviser -- who was then a top strategist for Obama. Gibbs, with Rouse and Axelrod, were the architects behind Obama's quick rise from the Senate to the White House.

Obama told Zeleny on Wednesday that Gibbs "will continue to shape the dialogue politically for many years to come."

"We've been on this ride together since I won my Senate primary in 2004," Obama said. "He's had a six-year stretch now where basically he's been going 24/7 with relatively modest pay."

In a statement, Obama said, "For the last six years, Robert has been a close friend, one of my closest advisers and an effective advocate from the podium for what this administration has been doing to move America forward. I think it's natural for him to want to step back, reflect and retool. That brings up some challenges and opportunities for the White House -- but it doesn't change the important role that Robert will continue to play on our team."

Gibbs' successor has been the subject of much speculation, with two names mentioned most often, Jay Carney, who is Biden's communications chief, and Bill Burton, a White House deputy press secretary.

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73 Comments

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consrvenow

Not a moment too soon. He has always come across as arrogant to me.

January 09 2011 at 10:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dede4007

I'm glad he is leaving. This man was an expert in saying "nothing". I guess that is what he was paid to do. But, good grief, it was hard as heck listening to him. Mr. Gibbs gets paid almost 3 times my husbands salary, (my husband is a college professor) That's sad isn't it, don't you think? When educators, policemen, firemen, and many others who change people's lives on a daily basis, barely make ends meet, yet guys like this make enormous salaries saying NOTHING. Sad and discouraging

January 08 2011 at 9:14 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
wra3577984

Thursday, January 06, 2011
Imagine...Mr. Gibbs on a paid anything, aside from being on the payroll of political apparatchiks, is in itself a hilarious thought. I mean he isn’t capable of delivering a complete sentence, without the obnoxious and repetitive; Aaaaaaah’s and or ummmmh’s to punctuate his mental dexterity and loss of any continued thought in each and every sentence.
But I am sure his mental shrewdness will be all the talk and appreciated in Obama’s inner circle, now that there is a new game in town, it will be interesting to watch and ponder, while he hops around the country on the so called speaking circuit, with his total lack of rhetorical skills and acumen; along with the continued; Aaaaaaaa’a and Ummmmmmmm’s while recounting his vast experiences as a press secretary for Obama while trying to gain a few shekels for his efforts to enshrine himself into our history books.
If it weren’t so tragic, it would be amusing to watch, I wonder how much time will pass; before the expected audience will disappear from those standing room only speaking engagements and book store signings around the so called circuit, before his effort to rewrite history is delegated to the musty pages of discounted books on an old book stores shelves. WFR

January 06 2011 at 8:53 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
sallyanncohen

Mr. Obama needs to change course and listen to the voters -- he still is trying to pass regulations thru the EPA and sneak thru the idea that seniors need to opt out of the Obama health takeover to get end of life counseling...so Obama will need a lot more than a new press secretary. Mr. Gibbs was good at avoiding any real question about this administration and dancing around information needed by the reporters present -- he did not do a good job in my opinion and I would not want him for my press secretary.

January 06 2011 at 4:45 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
micheal5652

Gibbs is nice guy but i'm glad he's leaving. He was not factual enough. He talked to much in generalities, not specifics and was a bit wishy washy in the way he communicated.
Obama needs a more powerful orator to speak for him.

January 05 2011 at 11:04 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
christierandall

I like Gibbs...he did just as good a job as any other press secretary...and at times with a little humor....he seemed to be a very easy going guy. I like the fact that Obama surrounds himself with people who are loyal to him and respect him but at the same time not afraid to voice their opinoin...Gibbs was definitely one of those guys.

January 05 2011 at 10:03 PM Report abuse -8 rate up rate down Reply
Carole

I wish Mr Gibbs all the best. I think that if you took your hourly salary and added it up at 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 52 weeks a year, your salary wouldn't be much less than what he was making. I would bet for many of you, it would be more. And we don't have to get up in front of the world and answer questions about what the President of the United States is doing and why. And do it in a way that makes everybody happy and offends no one, without telling too much. God speed Mr Gibbs. Job well done.

January 05 2011 at 8:37 PM Report abuse -15 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Carole's comment
Mrs T

He has offended me Carole with his "nonresponse" answers to questions, smugness, and the condescending way he treats the media.

January 05 2011 at 10:01 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
Jane Haenle

I only have two comments to those who putdown any press secretary...first, do you know anyone who has worked in the White House in a top position--their hours are indeed 24 and 7 days a week with constant time and travel pressures. There is indeed no leisure hours. Second...have you ever tried to live in Washington DC? It is one of the most expensive cities in the US with housing costs astronomical. A salary of $172,000 with its accompanying cost of living in the nation's capital is out of the understanding to most of our citizens unless perhaps you are in New York City.

January 05 2011 at 8:09 PM Report abuse -12 rate up rate down Reply
5 replies to Jane Haenle's comment
tinytrump

I liked him hope he does well... good luck!

January 05 2011 at 8:03 PM Report abuse -9 rate up rate down Reply
sfields435

toomuchbs1 -- Gibbs income is GROSS $172K per yr. The tax cuts were to apply to those whose incomes were NET $250K per yr. The difference is ENORMOUS.

January 05 2011 at 7:32 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to sfields435's comment
wra3577984

Imagine...all this concern regarding Mr. Gibbs monetary rewards, let’s not forget Mr. Gibbs is a harbinger of socialism in the land of the free and the brave, so I guess you could say he is getting his just desserts. WFR

January 06 2011 at 9:05 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
toomuchbs1

The higher tax rate was to be charged to married couples filing jointly who make over $250K per year. For individuals, the income ceiling was $150K. So which category does an individual making a "modest salary" of $172K fall into? The difference is NOT so enormous.

January 06 2011 at 10:04 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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