Gibbs Prepares for His Starring Role

"I think it's a tremendously important time in our country's history," he said earnestly. "And if I can help the president through the role of a spokesperson that talks to the country every day in a briefing room or through the work of reporters, that doing that and furthering an agenda that will bring about change and move the country forward, that's a hard opportunity to say no to."

And is he ready?

"Look, I don't know if you ever become ready until you do it," he said.

Having recently rehearsed a few practice briefings in what his colleagues on the Obama transition team jokingly referred to as "press secretary school," Gibbs said, "becoming prepared for this and going through ... a little of the practice of this, it's really unlike anything you've ever done. You know, it's not like a cable interview that lasts four or five minutes. This is something that can last 45 minutes. And you could get questions on virtually any topic at any point.

"When you think about it, it's a little daunting, sure," he acknowledged.

Obama was recently asked by a reporter for the New York Times Magazine which character from Obama's favorite movie – "The Godfather" – Gibbs most reminds him of. Obama suggested the loyal, soft-spoken family lawyer, or consigliere, Tom Hagen, as played by Robert Duval.

"And I've seen a little bit of Sonny in him once in a while," Obama added, referring to the hot-tempered oldest Corleone son whose emotion got the best of him.

"There's no question that everybody has different styles," Gibbs said. "And I think the president-elect, in that article, said that, you know, there's times in which I can be combative for his point of view. And I don't doubt that that's at times going to happen."

ABC News solicited advice for Gibbs from three recent press secretaries – Dana Perino and Scott McClellan from the Bush White House, and Joe Lockhart from Bill Clinton's White House. Gibbs then responded to some of their suggestions.

"I think the biggest challenge any press secretary faces if they've done the campaign is to transition out of the idea that every day is political combat, where you're trying to promote your candidate and by either covertly or overtly, denigrate the other candidate in the American public's mind, and really get to this idea of governing," Lockhart said.

Is that going to be tough for Gibbs?

"You assume different roles at different times," Gibbs said. "I think one of the things that Joe also talks about is, again, there's this range of issues that you're speaking on behalf of the president and the administration on each and every day. You know, it's a little bit less what's going on in the polls and maybe the one central argument that you may be having with a political opponent on any given day."

Suggested Perino: "I think one of the best pieces of advice I ever got from somebody -- I mean, Ari Fleischer, the first press secretary under the Bush administration -- was to not take the questions in the briefing room personally. And that can be hard sometimes, especially when you care deeply about your president. It can sometimes feel like they're coming after you or coming after him through you. And I think the most important thing to remember is to not take it personally."

Gibbs suggested that was a point well taken.

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