Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Robert Gibbs: Is He the Worst White House Press Secretary Ever?

I miss Tony Snow. I think he was the best White House Press Secretary we ever had. Conversely, I think 37-year-old Robert Gibbs may be the worst. Or maybe Gibbs is Rahm Emmanuel's idea of a joke on the yellow stream media, just to show the Obama administration's contempt for the White House press corps and journalists in general.

I took a transcript from a random White House press briefing, one day--today--and took it apart just to see if this guy is really as bad as I think he is. I didn't look through 30 transcripts and cobble together the most stupid non-answers from all of them. This was just one day. Here's what I found, a lot of non-answering, "throat clearing," and dancing through what evidently must feel to him like a minefield of questions.

You wonder why reporters even keep showing up for these "briefings." Oh, and why is a White House press briefing so much about what this guy thinks? I thought he was the mouthpiece of the administration, not the brain. [Note: All of the dashes -- are part of the transcript; none were added.]

Gibbs: So, just to back up the question a little bit,

Gibbs: I think the President has been clear on this,

Gibbs: Let's take just a step back for a second.

Gibbs: Look, I think there's no doubt,

Gibbs: Well, again, I'm not saying we're not following that strategy

Gibbs: Well, again, I think the President, as he -- as the President said clearly today,

Gibbs: That's not what I just said.
Gibbs: No, but they were saying basically

Gibbs: I don't think that's an accurate rendition

Gibbs: Again, Ed,

Gibbs: The President is not going to -- as he was very clear today

Gibbs: Let me talk to Nancy. I don't know if -- I haven't looked at other bills

Gibbs: The answer that I'm going to give is the same answer that I gave on Sunday,

Gibbs: I don't think that -- like I said, the President does not believe that

Gibbs: No, I simply said I didn't think and I don't think the President believes

Gibbs: Again, I think -- I think if you look at --

Gibbs: I've said this a number of times;

Gibbs: I think I could say accurately each and every day that

Gibbs: I don't think that -- I honestly don't think that

Gibbs: Not that I know of.

Gibbs: I don't know when the last time they talked was,

Gibbs: Chuck, let me -- what the President says privately is what I just shared with you publicly --as is my role as his spokesperson. [Huh?]

Gibbs: I doubt it. I mean, I said this --

Gibbs: I said this -- I think I said this last week,

Gibbs: I'd have to look at some of these numbers and evaluate and get --

Gibbs: Let me look at the paper that you're looking at and try to come to --

Gibbs: I don't know that I've had a discussion about that with him.

Gibbs: Again, I think -- look, I think if you go back and look at what the President -- the way the President has talked

Gibbs: When you say his presidential predecessor, do you mean one of the previous Presidents? [Duh--really, is he serious?]

Gibbs: You know, I have not seen the book, Lester. I don't -- I'm not afforded the opportunity, given I've got to read --

Gibbs: Who am I supposed to ask?

Gibbs: I'm sorry, I'm indulging -- stop, that was a bubble box. Go ahead, I'm sorry. I'm not the only one having a bubble box moment. Go ahead. [A "bubble box moment"? This guy seriously needs to get out of town for awhile.]

Gibbs: I'm sorry, who -- [Reporter: I'm talking about David Axelrod. . ." does he know David Axelrod?]

Gibbs: You'd better direct -- I don't know what David's call schedule is like.

Gibbs: Yes, I mean -- I mean, again, I'll just -- I don't know how to -- I don't know whether it's a fine point or a not-so-fine point. As I said Sunday,

Gibbs: I guess I'm a victim of being consistent. [Gibbs has, in my opinion, a snotty way about him that he evidently thinks is wit.]

Gibbs: The President doesn't think it -- didn't think it Sunday, doesn't think it -- what is it? -- Wednesday.

Gibbs: I don't think the President has seen the specific comments, and I don't know -- I haven't talked to him

Gibbs: That's my assumption,

Gibbs: I have not seen Senator Feingold's letter. I think -- I don't know

Gibbs: Look, I don't -- like I said, I don't know what Senator Feingold said. [And I'm honestly either not prepared or I'm dodging every question I don't want to answer here today.]

Gibbs: I'm struck by a little of the politics in this, Major. . . [Major Garrett from Fox News] You know, I mean, I think it's -- I've noticed that --

Gibbs: I would have to look at -- read the letter and have Counsel give me an opinion on that. Again -- [Gibbs's "answer" to Major Garrett's question.]

Gibbs: And I think as it relates to, like I said a minute ago, any number of the political games that seem to be played each and every day in this little town -- I think we'd best be set getting back to dealing with real business. [So Major Garrett's question is so serious he'll need to have Counsel give him an opinion on it before he can answer, yet the question is all about "political games" and not "real business." Which is it, Bob?]

Gibbs: I think we talked about it.

Gibbs: Well, I think most people that see him understand that he's an African American. [What does Gibbs think he gains by acting like a spoiled 14-year-old kid with these White House reporters?]

Gibbs: that has always, to me, been something of a peculiar line of either questioning or reasoning.

Gibbs: Look, I'm just simply saying I don't think -- that the President does not believe that -- I forget exactly how the original question was --

Gibbs: But I don't -- I'm not sure I see this large national conversation going on right now. [That was Gibbs's answer to the question: Why is this not a teachable moment for this President to lend his voice to the issue of race, considering that a former President has called half the country racists in his recent remarks--that's my wording, not the reporter's.]

Gibbs: Look, you know, it adds to -- it adds to our dialogue. [Unbelievable! That was Gibb's answer to the question: What impact does it have when a former President of the United States, someone who came from the South, someone who worked against discrimination all of his career, says that the -- what was it -- an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity is because he's black? What effect does that have on the country when a former President says that?

Gibbs: Well, no, I think -- I think we're at a -- I think we're at a point in health care reform, as I've said and as others have said many times,

Gibbs: This is all part of the long process, and I don't think -- I don't think that

Gibbs: I think the American people

Gibbs: No, no, no, no, that's -- that is, again, that's part of the process that we've talked about,

Gibbs: Not likely. But my sense is that

Gibbs: We're not going to get into --

Gibbs: No, I don't think I said that. I said I didn't think

Gibbs: You know, I'm going to go somewhere -- I'm not going to play games. [Reporter: why are you going away? I mean, why won't you answer that question?] Because I'm not going to play games today.

Gibbs: Well, I obviously haven't seen Senator Reid's comments.

Gibbs: Let me check with Nancy. And I haven't seen the -- I haven't seen his [Senator Grassley's] comments. Thank you.

That's All, Folks!

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