'This Week' Transcript: Brown, Corker, Gibbs

GIBBS: I do think the crucible of the campaign, I think, is a little different than I think what governing will be like. I think Dana's right. My guess is if you took every one of them personally, you probably wouldn't make it through a whole month without becoming so enraged that you didn't want to talk to anybody in the press, and I don't think that's probably a very good way of operating.

TAPPER: All right, some more advice.


FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY SCOTT MCCLELLAN: You want to be able to vouch for yourself and for the president, but be careful about vouching for others. When you're not there, someone may tell you one thing, but you can't know with absolute certainty.


TAPPER: Scott McClellan speaking from personal experience. He of course felt very burned by two presidential aides, Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, about their conversations, and his vouching for them from the podium.

There have been times in this campaign and currently where you are asked to vouch for somebody else, what conversations Rahm Emanuel, your -- the incoming chief of staff had with the governor. That's difficult, isn't it, to speak for so many people?

GIBBS: Sure. You have to communicate things that, as Scott said, you may not have been in the room for every one of those decisions or every one of those conversations. I believe that the people that we've assembled, that the president-elect has been able to assemble in a government that will take over on the 20th of January, I think we put together a caliber of people that not only that I trust, but certainly had the trust of the president-elect.

TAPPER: Those are idealistic words. And I don't begrudge you for them, but isn't it inherent...

GIBBS: If I can't be idealistic now, it's never going to happen.


TAPPER: Isn't inherent in having this cabinet full of such strong personalities a risk for you, a risk for you...

GIBBS: I think a far greater risk is to assemble a group of people that whenever the president opens their mouth, they all nod their heads in agreement.

TAPPER: What about people who are trying to protect their reputations before the public of the United States of America? You're going to have Hillary Clinton, your incoming likely secretary of state, is going to have a real power base in Foggy Bottom, at the State Department, and you know, she obviously disagrees with your remaining secretary of defense, Robert Gates, a holdover from the Bush administration. He's going to disagree with Jim Jones, who comes very much out of John McCain's world. How are you going to make sure everybody stays on message, publicly?

GIBBS: This is the charge that the president-elect has given every one of the people that he selected, be it for a White House job or for a cabinet position.

TAPPER: Keep your mouth shut outside the room.

GIBBS: But -- well, what the president-elect -- there's one person in that room that's going to make the ultimate and final decision. That's going to be President-elect Barack Obama.

TAPPER: I've got some helpful tips from the Bush administration for you.


PERINO: Oftentimes, you have to defend, of course, the president to the press. But an even tougher job sometimes is defending the press to the president. It's part of the job. And I took that very seriously, and I think that we were able to be successful.


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