BUH-BYE, ROBERT GIBBS

Jan 5, 2011 4:49pm

From Jon Garcia and Jake Tapper:

As Speaker John Boehner heralded the arrival of the 112th Congress on Capitol Hill, President Obama’s Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was announcing his departure from the other end of Pennsylvania Ave, the latest move as Obama shakes up his West Wing line up. Come February, there’ll be a new face at the press room podium.

“It is an honor and a privilege to stand here, to work inside this building, to serve your country, to work for a president that I admire as much as President Barack Obama, … whatever your length of service here, it is temporary in the long and wonderful history of our country,” Gibbs told reporters at his regular briefing. “What I'm going to do next is step back a little bit, recharge some,” he said.

“This is a tough place to work. … I think having new voices and having fresh voices, some of those voices that are coming back from having taken a couple of years off, are an important part of this process,” Gibbs said.

Gibbs said he didn’t have an exact date for his departure, but recharging won’t be the only thing on his mind, telling reporters that he will continue to advise Obama, make speeches, be an advocate for Obama’s agenda and eventually become a paid consultant for the reelection campaign.  And he wouldn’t rule out working with corporate clients he was “comfortable with” even as he worked as a paid advisor to the reelection campaign.

He asked, tongue firmly in cheek, if the Dallas Cowboys had found a new coach. And he “wouldn’t close the door” on returning to an Obama 2nd term, but joked he’d available to be ambassador to Italy.  And don’t expect Gibbs to pen a book anytime soon, either.

Gibbs vowed his replacement would be chosen before his departure and contenders include Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton and VP Biden’s Communications Dir. Jay Carney.

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