Robert Gibbs announced his departure as White House press secretary today. As one who is not really a fan of how he has handled the press for the past two years (or the message), I wish him well and hope the next Press Secretary masters communications better. This would include a focus on aiming at the right wing and leaving the left alone.
Here are some excerpts from his press conference today:
Q Can you tell us a bit more -- in a bit more detail about what you're going to be doing next? You're not going to be lobbying or consulting. How would you define your next job?
MR. GIBBS: Well, let me start by saying a few things, Ben. It is -- and you all know this because you do this as well, and that is it is an honor and a privilege to stand here, to work inside this building, to serve your country, to work for a President that I admire as much as President Barack Obama.
I've been a member of his staff for almost seven years, and it’s -- again, it’s a remarkable privilege. It is in many ways the opportunity of a lifetime, one that I will be forever thankful and grateful for.
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.
Q In terms of advocacy for the President, are you looking forward to the potential freedom that will come with speaking for him and not being behind that podium?
MR. GIBBS: No, look, we -- we're in a very different political environment than we've been in a number of years in this country and I think whoever stands here or whoever goes on television to make the case for this administration should be an advocate of the decisions and the policies that are coming from this building. You certainly have to play that role.
I'm not going in order to be freed up to say a series of things that I might not otherwise say. I've enjoyed every time I've come out here and even on days when you -- even every day, even when you wake up at 4:00 a.m. and pick up the paper and groan that you have a sense of what the first several questions might be. But I think it’s important for this country and for an administration to come out here and advocate on behalf of and -- on behalf of its policies and answer your questions.
Q And you’ve talked about how long you’ve been next to now President Obama. Can you talk about the impact that you think your leaving will have in concert with David Axelrod and already Rahm Emanuel?
MR. GIBBS: I will say this. One of the things you learn very quickly as you walk into this building each day, you’re struck by the sense that -- of the history of this place, and you realize that whatever your length of service here, it is temporary in the long and wonderful history of our country. And I think it does an administration good -- and I think it will do this administration good -- to have people like David Plouffe and others come into an administration who haven’t been here, who have been able to watch a little bit from the outside.
We all admit there’s -- you have to admit there’s a bubble in here, to some degree. So I think having new voices and having fresh voices, some of those voices that are coming back from having taken a couple of years off, are an important part of this process. I think they will serve the President well, even as people like David Axelrod and I go outside of the building and have a chance to talk to the President and people here with a slightly different perspective of not driving in here each morning.
So I think it’s unique. I think it’s -- but the truth is you walk around here and you see the history and such, and I'd just reiterate again, you realize that for however long you’re here, it’s temporary. But what endures is our government. What endures is the great experiment of democracy that’s proved to be such a wonderful thing for the world.
Suggestion for the next Press Secretary: Bring someone in from the outside who has watched the travesty unfold for the last two years. And make sure they've got sharp teeth and a sharper tongue.