The (anticipated) exodus from the White House continues.
Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, who’s had a somewhat contentious relationship with the White House Press Corps in the last two years, will be departing in February. Meaning, among other things, that Politico will likely to devote the entire month of January to speculating about his replacement (Bill Burton is the favoured contender).
While it’s not unusual to see heavy turnover at this stage of an administration — people are exhausted — what’s interesting about this announcement is that Gibbs will be leaving the White House entirely. Not that long ago there was a great deal of speculation that the position he wanted in the administration was senior adviser and considering Obama will have shortly lost both David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel it would seem there is some space in that department. Or not.
Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary and close confidante to President Obama, said Wednesday that he will step down and become an outside political adviser to the president and his re-election campaign.
Mr. Gibbs said that he intends to leave the podium in early February. His successor has not yet been decided, he said, but will likely be announced within the next two weeks.
President Obama, who is in the midst of making final decisions on the first major reorganization of his administration, said in a brief telephone interview on Wednesday that Mr. Gibbs would remain a close adviser and “will continue to shape the dialogue politically for many years to come.”
“We’ve been on this ride together since I won my Senate primary in 2004,” Mr. Obama said. “He’s had a six-year stretch now where basically he’s been going 24/7 with relatively modest pay. I think it’s natural for someone like Robert to want to step back for a second to reflect, retool and that, as a consequence, brings about both challenges and opportunities for the White House.”
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