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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Is Gibbs driving himself under the bus?

The White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, who irritated fellow Democrats recently by saying Republicans might reclaim control of the House in November, is once again in hot water with his own party, after lambasting President Obama’s critics on what he called “the professional left.’’

In an interview with The Hill newspaper, published Tuesday, Mr. Gibbs unloaded his frustration with liberals who are themselves frustrated with the president.
“I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested – I mean, it’s crazy,’’ Mr. Gibbs was quoted in the newspaper as saying.

He went on to condemn the “professional left,’’ saying: “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian health care and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.’’
Mr. Gibbs’ remarks raced around the blogosphere and dominated much of the daily White House briefing, which was conducted Tuesday by his deputy, Bill Burton, who explained that the press secretary had a sore throat.

Mr. Burton did not back away from his boss’s comments. But he conceded that people inside the White House – the president included – are sometimes frustrated with press coverage of Mr. Obama’s initiatives, and suggested that this frustration accounted for Mr. Gibbs’s remark.

As to just who constitutes the “professional left,’’ Mr. Burton said, “I think he was just talking about folks who mostly live in this town and talk on cable TV.”  (Source NYT)

Later, he apologizes:

White House spokesman and President Barack Obama's close aide, Robert Gibbs, apologized after a newspaper published an interview in which he took some tough jabs at the left wing of Obama's own Democratic Party.

In an interview with the political newspaper "The Hill", Gibbs took some swipes at people he described as the "professional left" for what he saw as unfair criticism of Obama's allegedly not doing enough in terms of reforms.
"They wouldn?t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president," the spokesman quipped, referring to the Ohio congressman known for his leftist positions.
"I hear these people saying he?s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested," Gibbs said. "I mean, it?s crazy."
Gibbs later said he had spoken "inartfully."

"I watch too much cable, I admit. Day after day, it gets frustrating."
"So we should all, me included, stop fighting each other and arguing about our differences on certain policies, and instead work together to make sure everyone knows what is at stake because we've come too far to turn back now," he said.

Gibbs added that "since coming to office in January 2009, this White House and Congress have worked tirelessly to put our country back on the right path. Most importantly, to dig our way out of a huge recession and build an economy that makes America more competitive and our middle class more secure. Some are frustrated that the change we want hasn't come fast enough for many Americans. That we all understand." (Source)

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