Press-secretary-to-be Robert Gibbs gets the Howard Kurtz treatment, in The Washington Post. "While he can be combative in private, Gibbs is affable and smooth-talking on camera, often deflecting uncomfortable questions with a quip. Colleagues say Gibbs channels the president-elect in a way that goes beyond their shared passion for college football. Obama had an initial tendency to overanswer questions, but Gibbs has taught him how to pivot back to his scripted point," Kurtz writes.
Says Newsweek's Richard Wolffe: "He could deliver a harsh message, but do it with a little sense of humor, so you'd feel punched in the stomach but not in the face."
Says Linda Douglass: "We call him the Barack Whisperer. He completely understands his thinking and knows how Barack wants to come across."
Says Dean Reynolds: "He became less and less helpful as Obama got more and more successful."
Don't worry about Hillary: She knows how to get through to the Obama White House. "Rahm Emanuel? He's gonna be accessible to me," Clinton told reporters in a conference call Tuesday, per the New York Daily News' James Gordon Meek.
Quick movement on Guantanamo? "The Obama administration will launch a review of the classified files of the approximately 250 detainees at Guantanamo Bay immediately after taking office, as part of an intensive effort to close the U.S. prison in Cuba, according to people who advised the campaign on detainee issues," The Washington Post's Peter Finn writes. "Announcing the closure of the controversial detention facility would be among the most potent signals the incoming administration could send of its sharp break with the Bush era."
More Gitmo pressure. Coming Wednesday, a report that calls on Obama to close Guantanamo Bay, and to initiate sweeping investigations into prisoner treatment there: "A new report by human rights experts at the University of California, Berkeley, details the experience of detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba and Afghanistan, from the time of their capture through their return home. The report authors will hold a press conference call at noon this Wednesday to discuss their findings and the implications for the Obama Administration; prior to the press call, they will hold an in-person briefing in Washington, DC, on the report."
Does this help anyone's case for the job? "The battle for America's top diplomatic post spilled into view Tuesday, as some Hispanic leaders made a public push to have President-elect Barack Obama name Bill Richardson, the governor of New Mexico, as his secretary of state," Cam Simpson writes in The Wall Street Journal. "Sen. John Kerry, an early backer of Mr. Obama who failed in his own bid for the presidency four years ago, sought to deflect reports that he is lobbying for the job."