Press Secretary Robert Gibbs Quits

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Robert Gibbs is quitting his job as White House press secretary, The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny reports. He will, however, remain close to President Obama as an outside political adviser for his 2012 campaign. A replacement will be named within two weeks, and Gibbs will be out the door early next month. Candidates include former reporter Jay Carney and Gibbs deputies Bill Burton and Josh Earnest. Gibbs has been working for Obama since way back when he was running for Senate not well known.

Obama is in the midst of reorganizing his White House staff--a new chief of staff, likely either Pete Rouse or the already controversial William Daley, will be announced early next week. A new head of the National Economic Council will be announced Friday; that position is expected to go to Gene Sperling. David Axelrod will leave in a few months, as will Jim Messina, who will manage the reelection campaign.

  • A Chance to Make Peace, The Atlantic's Garance Franke-Ruta writes. Gibbs' departure "offers an opportunity for the White House to repair relationships with the community Gibbs derided as 'the professional left' as the president gets ready for a reelection campaign that will need to renew excitement among progressives even as it woos more centrist voters. ... [T]he professional left, as it were, can be critical during a campaign cycle, as its members provide ground troops and an online megaphone for favored candidates."
  • Here's a Little Tip  "Don't be so dismissive of the opposition," Slate's Dave Weigel suggests. "In the rearview mirror, the Democratic/White House/liberal activist decision to ridicule the conservative backlash to Obama, and to elevate its 'craziest' members, looks like an historic blunder. Granted, the ridicule might have worked if the economy picked up faster and Republicans were left with a bunch pf bad faith and bad predictions." But that's not how it worked out.
  • Here Comes 2012  Gibbs could serve as a television surrogate for Obama, or start a liberal version of the political group American Crossroads, which so effectively clubbed Democrats during the midterm elections, The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza writes. Either way, "a departure by Gibbs--coupled with the other moves expected to happen in the near-term--suggest that Obama and his team are aware that the 2012 campaign has already begun and have no interest in getting a late start on it."
  • Won't Make a Huge Difference, Sister Toldjah writes. "Will be mildly interesting to see who ends up taking their respective places as Misleaders of the American Public--I say only mildly interesting because even though the faces will change, the agenda will, of course, remain the same, and that is to dupe as many people as possible in an 'official' administration capacity."
  • We'll Miss His Sense of Humor, Libby Spencer writes at The Impolitic.
The White House Press Corps did little to hide their dislike of the man. ... I like him more than any of his recent predecessors on either side of the fence. I mean in a position where the job description is essentially to spin positive agitprop for the president, he seems to me to be more honest than most and has the kind of dry humor that I find appealling. Also, since I suffer from this myself, I love a guy who blushes involuntarily, and frequently.

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