The Washington Times - February 3, 2009, 11:42PM

What a day.



President Obama lost two of his nominees amid tax problems and did a round robin with all five networks.


It kept me busy, but also kept Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on high alert throughout the day and for the most combative briefing yet.


Coincidentally, my profile of Gibbs ran on the front of today’s Plugged-In Politics section:


When President Obama says White House press secretary Robert Gibbs has been there from the beginning, it’s true.

Standing nervously backstage before his debut as the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004, Mr. Obama was involved in a half-hour debate over which tie he should wear for the speech that was about to launch his political fame.

“We finally settled on the tie that Robert Gibbs was wearing,” Mr. Obama wrote in his book, “The Audacity of Hope.”

Mr. Gibbs says now that he was reluctant to hand over the light blue tie.

“I really liked the tie; I didn’t want to give it to him,” Mr. Gibbs told The Washington Times. “I went back and bought the same one after the speech.”

The bespectacled press secretary, an aide and close adviser to Mr. Obama since his U.S. Senate bid the year of the convention, paused and grinned.

“I wore it at the inaugural,” he said.


For the piece, I interviewed Gibbs, his college soccer coach, former colleagues and reporters.


The profile also mentions his 5-year-old son, Ethan, shown here in an image from a calendar giving Obama a fist bump on the campaign trail.



Read the full story here.


A few anecdotes didn’t make it into the print edition, such as this gem from a briefing last week:


On Wednesday the former college soccer team goalie used sports analogies when talking about the pending economic stimulus package vote.
“I hesitate to call the game after the third inning,” he said, chiding reporters for wanting to do early analysis before the final vote.
Later he got more creative with the expanded metaphor after a reporter reminded him that “They keep score in each inning.”
“They do,” he said. “You get up and stretch at one point during the game.  And there’s a man that says you can’t buy beer after a certain time.  But the umpire doesn’t declare the game over.”
He wasn’t finished, despite laughs from the briefing room.
“So I guess I would stress that even if you get up, to stretch and buy beer, they only call one winner.  So let’s hope that that one winner is the American people, because both teams have worked together,” he said.


 Christina Bellantoni, White House correspondent,
The Washington Times

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