When the White House released their schedule last night, it listed the daily briefing with Robert Gibbs as expected. But somewhere between six p.m. yesterday and noon today, the Press Secretary apparently came down with a cold.
“The problem is that drug makers have not found a Sudafed strong enough for Robert Gibbs, and so he's sitting upstairs, probably watching me talk to you with a sore throat and the sniffles,” Deputy White House press secretary Bill Burton said.
While Gibbs was back in his office recovering, his deputy took quite a few questions on an interview he gave to the Hill newspaper, where Gibbs blasted the “professional left.”
“I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs told reporter Sam Youngman. “I mean, it’s crazy.”
He later said, “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian health care and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.”
And also added, “They wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president.”
The left’s litany of complaints with the Obama administration – over gay rights, the public option, Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan, environmental policy, oil drilling, government secrecy, financial reform – is long and growing.
Burton downplayed the interview as “one conversation with one reporter, and in response some questions about frustration, just answered honestly. I don't think that it should be read as anything more than that.”
But at least one Democrat in Congress thinks what was said is a fireable offense.
When asked, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) said Gibbs should resign. Burton said Gibbs had not reached out to anyone within the Democratic Party to explain his comments, but he did issue a lengthy statement to ABC News:
“I watch too much cable, I admit. Day after day it gets frustrating. Yesterday I watched as someone called legislation to prevent teacher layoffs a bailout – but I know that’s not a view held by many, nor were the views I was frustrated about.
So what I may have said inartfully, let me say this way – since coming to office in January 2009, this White House and Congress have worked tirelessly to put our country back on the right path. Most importantly, to dig our way out of a huge recession and build an economy that makes America more competitive and our middle class more secure. Some are frustrated that the change we want hasn’t come fast enough for many Americans. That we all understand.
But in 17 months, we have seen Wall Street reform, historic health care reform, fair pay for women, a recovery act that pulled us back from a depression and got our economy moving again, record investments in clean energy that are creating jobs, student loan reforms so families can afford college, a weapons system canceled that the Pentagon didn’t want, reset our relationship with the world and negotiated a nuclear weapons treaty that gets us closer to a world without fear of these weapons, just to name a few. And at the end of this month, 90,000 troops will have left Iraq and our combat mission will come to an end.
Even so, we will continue to work each day on the promises and commitments that the President made traveling all over this country for two years and produce the change we know is possible.
In November, America will get to choose between going back to the failed policies that got us into this mess, or moving forward with the policies that are leading us out.
So we should all, me included, stop fighting each other and arguing about our differences on certain policies, and instead work together to make sure everyone knows what is at stake because we’ve come too far to turn back now.”
- Yunji de Nies and Sunlen Miller