Gibbs Reflects on 'Inartful' Comments

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs's frustrated ventilation against the "professional left," delivered in an interview with the Hill's Sam Youngman, provoked predictable outrage against the slighted few, who've taken to Twitter and their columns to counter-ventilate.

Gibbs defines the professional left as the cohort of full-time web-enabled liberal bloggers who spend their days providing meta-commentary on the political scene.

"I hear these people saying he's like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested," Gibbs said. "I mean, it's crazy."

The press secretary dismissed the "professional left" in terms very similar to those used by their opponents on the ideological right, saying, "They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we've eliminated the Pentagon. That's not reality."

As Youngman notes, the White House is bewildered by the volume and acuity of friendly fire, believing that much of the criticism results from unrealistic expectations and a lack of historical perspective.

"I watch too much cable, I admit," Gibbs said. "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." He continued:
 

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.

Obama remains popular with self-identified Democrats and liberals, although he is polling about 10 percentage points lower among both of those groups than he should be.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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