Political Shorts: Robert Gibbs & The “Profession Left” Controversy

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 111TH CONGRESS:

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs briefs reporters at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 11.

Charles Dharapak/AP

  • Robert Gibbs on flak from the left: ‘No inflatable exit’ from his office: At Wednesday’s White House briefing, press secretary Robert Gibbs came prepared to field questions concerning his recent complaint about the ‘professional left.’… – CS Monitor, 8-11-10
  • Gibbs stands by remarks on liberals _ sort of: White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Wednesday he might have said things differently when he lashed out at liberals he called the “professional left” and suggested some of them should be drug tested. But he told his daily White house briefing that he’s certainly not leaving his job over the remark, as at least one Democratic congressman has suggested. And he stuck to his line that President Barack Obama has accomplished or made great strides on key goals and promises despite criticism from some liberals that he has not done enough…. – AP, 8-11-10
  • White House in dispute with ‘professional left’: The White House was on the defensive Tuesday after press secretary Robert Gibbs lashed out at liberals he dubbed the “professional left,” saying some of them should be drug-tested. Gibbs contended that some progressives critical of President Barack Obama wouldn’t be satisfied until the Pentagon was eliminated and Canadian-style health care ushered into the U.S. Some of them wouldn’t even be happy if anti-war congressman Dennis Kucinich were president, according to Gibbs. His comments appeared Tuesday in “The Hill” newspaper…. – AP, 8-10-10
  • White House unloads anger over criticism from ‘professional left’: The White House is simmering with anger at criticism from liberals who say President Obama is more concerned with deal-making than ideological purity. During an interview with The Hill in his West Wing office, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs blasted liberal naysayers, whom he said would never regard anything the president did as good enough.
    “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.” Of those who complain that Obama caved to centrists on issues such as healthcare reform, Gibbs said: “They wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president.” – The Hill, 8-10-10
  • Robert Gibbs, putting things a little too plainly: The president has succeeded in passing the bulk of his agenda over the strenuous objections of a resurgent Republican minority. But his critics, particularly those on the left, are still grumbling and unsatisfied. They say the president is not moving fast enough. Some have even compared him to former president George W. Bush.
    That last was enough to send press secretary Robert Gibbs over the edge Tuesday. In a rant that he later described as “inartful,” Gibbs unloaded on what he called the “professional left” and said they were out of touch with reality. “I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug-tested,” Gibbs told The Hill’s Sam Youngman in an interview. “I mean, it’s crazy.”
    In his apology, Gibbs offered a peek inside the current mental state at the White House: “Day after day, it gets frustrating,” he wrote. – (Gibbs’s comments about the Democratic base) The Hill InterviewWaPo, 8-11-10
  • Gibbs condemns criticism from ‘professional left’: Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) says Gibbs should resign. “This is not the first time that Mr. Gibbs has made untoward and inflammatory comments and I certainly hope that people in the White House don’t share his view that the left is unimportant to the president,” he said. “I understand him having some loyalty to the president who employs him, but I think he’s walking over the line.”… White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton told reporters, “I don’t think there’s any danger of that happening.”…. – WaPo, 8-11-10
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