Given the generally sycophantic attitude of the White House Press Corps, Robert Gibbs may have been caught off guard when he started facing some tough questions on President Obama's apparent flip-flop regarding his many promises to broadcast health care negotiations on C-SPAN. Gibbs stubbornly refused to answer multiple questions about the broken promises (h/t Byron York). Naked Emperor News complied video clips of eight instances of Obama promising to broadcast those negotiations on C-SPAN "so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies", as he said during one speech. The President has reneged on that commitment by reportedly encouraging Congressional leaders to skip conference committee negotiations.
C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb recently sent a letter to the President and Congressional leaders "respectfully request[ing] that you allow the public full access, through television, to legislation that will affect the lives of every single American." That request went unheeded.
On Wednesday’s Situation Room, CNN’s Jack Cafferty surprisingly blasted top Democrats, especially President Obama, over the secret negotiations being conducted to reconcile the House and Senate versions of health care “reform” legislation: “President Obama hasn’t even made a token effort to keep his campaign promises of more openness and transparency in government. It was all just another lie.”
The CNN commentator, who sang the praises of President Obama not even a year ago, devoted his first Cafferty File segment, which began 13 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour, to berating the chief executive and congressional Democrats over their closed-door sessions. He even went so far to express his hope that “the voters remember some of this crap when the midterm elections roll around later this year.”
Yesterday, Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs took shots at Howard Dean and his opposition to ObamaCare, suggesting the good doctor didn't know what he was talking about.
It was payback time this morning, as Dean announced that he would "not vigorously" back Pres. Obama's re-election bid.
The former DNC Chairman expressed his tepid support for Obama, Part Deux on today's Morning Joe in response to new poll data indicating Pres. Obama's popularity, and public support for ObamaCare, have fallen to all-time lows.
Joe Scarborough suggested that Dean would be accused of dragging down his party and helping Republicans.
NewsBuster Rusty Weiss was praised on Saturday by "Fox News Watch" regular Jim Pinkerton.
The program began with host Jon Scott talking about President Obama's declining poll numbers, and how White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs spun them last week claiming, "I don't put a lot of stake in, never have in the EKG that is the daily Gallup trend."
Scott then passed the baton to Pinkerton who marvelously said, "[H]ats off to Rusty Weiss at NewsBusters who pointed out that back in February, when the Gallup poll showed enormous support for the stimulus package, the same guy, Robert Gibbs, was delighted to flap that as proof for what a great policy he had" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, recently ridiculed a Gallup poll which showed the President's approval ratings at a record low for this stage of his presidency, for seemingly no other reason than they showed the President in a negative light. Gibbs referred to the Gallup polling organization as a wildly fluctuating EKG, labeling their results as the equivalent of ‘a 6-year-old with a crayon.'
Predictably, this administration has managed to throw a temper tantrum at every instance of failure that has defined them. The only surprise here, being that Gibbs was capable of taking the pacifier out of his mouth long enough to make the analogy.
On the other hand, it was mere months ago that Gibbs himself used Gallup poll numbers to demonstrate support for President Obama's economic stimulus plan - a stimulus plan that a 6-year-old with a crayon would have voted ‘no' on.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs lashed out at Gallup polling today for releasing poll data that the administration does not like. The most recent Gallup poll shows President Obama's approval ratings at 47 percent, the lowest rating on record at this point in any presidency.
"If I was a heart patient and Gallup was my EKG, I'd visit my doctor," Gibbs told reporters today, referring to recent fluctuations in the polling company's reported presidential approval ratings. As of November 30, Gallup reported Obama's favorable rating at 51 percent, with 42 percent responding unfavorably. The latter rose to 46 percent as of Sunday.
"I'm sure a 6-year-old with a crayon could do something not unlike that. I don't put a lot of stake in, never have, in the EKG that is the daily Gallup trend," Gibbs added.
Ryan was pressing Gibbs over whether Desiree Rogers, the White House social secretary, essentially "invited herself" to last week's state dinner in honor of the Indian Prime Minister. Rogers has come under scrutiny for failing to have either herself or other social office staffers accompany Secret Service staffers who conducted security screenings for the dinner.
Gibbs, annoyed by Ryan pressing the matter, chided Ryan to calm down and suggesting that she was throwing a tantrum much like his son sometimes does.
I've included a partial transcript and CSPAN's video embed below the page break. Advance the embedded video above to about the 31:00 timestamp to see the relevant exchange (h/t Tim Graham):
Forget Ford Hood and investigating the so-called "terror" connections of Nidal Hasan.
Yours truly has come across something the current crowd running our government might see as even more sinister. The Obama administration, the FBI, the Justice Department, and, most importantly, the White House's speech police simply have to get on this right away.
You see, General David Petraeus visited the Air Force Academy last week and may have uttered a word once thought to have been stricken from all speeches and discussions relating to military matters.
UPDATE: Fox News White House correspondent Major Garrett corrected the record during Studio B in the 3PM ET hour on Wednesday (see video).
At 10:15AM ET during America’s Newsroom on Fox News Channel, co-host Martha MacCallum reported that in a gaggle with reporters Wednesday morning White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs claimed that President Obama did not watch election results Tuesday night but rather watched an HBO special about his 2008 campaign.
A tipster contacted NewsBusters questioning that report and after having acquired a transcript of the press gaggle, we have confirmed that the Fox News report was incorrect and Gibbs did not make any such statement.
Gibbs made this statement at the beginning of the untaped discussion with White House reporters:
One thing I should contextualize – the President obviously got updates about the election last night. He did not watch – as I told some of you – did not watch election returns. I wouldn’t read a ton into that since he didn’t actually watch election returns when he was running. If you did watch the movie on HBO – we called him and told him he won Iowa. He did not watch election returns.
Clearly Gibbs was simply referencing the HBO documentary as evidence that the President does not routinely watch election returns.
During the 10AM ET hour of America’s Newsroom on Fox News Channel, fill-in co-host Martha Maccallum told viewers what President Obama watched on election night while Democrats suffered big losses in New Jersey and Virginia: “Robert Gibbs said, well, he was actually watching, you know, the HBO special about his year-long campaign and how it all went.”
On Tuesday night the White House had worked to downplay the Democratic gubernatorial defeats by claiming the President did not watch the election returns. Apparently Gibbs thought it would look better if the commander in chief was watching a self-indulgent fawning documentary about himself. Interestingly, Obama apparently previewed the HBO special a few days earlier, as Gibbs himself explained to the blog Talking Points Memo: “White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says Obama has already seen ‘By the People’...Gibbs told TPMDC Obama’s review: ‘Thumbs up!’”
On FNC, Maccallum noted: “...we know that Michelle and the girls went to the Miley Cyrus concert last night... So he’s all alone in that big house, right? Nothing to do but sit back and watch – reminisce about the long campaign and watch HBO and the special.” The HBO documentary, ‘By the People,’ debuted on Tuesday, in commemoration of the one year anniversary of Obama’s election.
Numerous sources are reporting a meeting occurred Wednesday between high-ranking officials at the White House and the Fox News Channel to try and reach an end to hostilities between the Administration and the nation's leading cable news network.
With Fox's ratings soaring as a result of the incursion, and the White House looking more and more foolish, one has to wonder what the Adminstration could have offered to make this deal possible.
Unfortunately, such details aren't currently available besides what Mediaite reported Wednesday:
And you thought President Obama just didn’t like Glenn Beck. According to MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, the administration’s repeated attacks on Fox News are an attempt to send a message to the rest of the news media: “Fox isn’t a real news organization, so the stories it generates aren’t real news.”
The Oct. 21 “Morning Joe” reported on an exchange yesterday (noted on Newsbusters by Noel Sheppard) between ABC Chief White House Correspondent Jake Tapper and White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs, in which Tapper asked whether it was “appropriate” for the administration to be deciding what news organizations are legitimate.
“I think Jake Tapper was onto what we got onto yesterday morning, because we’ve been having this debate: ‘Does this make sense for them to shoot down at Fox News?’” said host Joe Scarborough. “No it doesn’t if your target’s Fox News.”
On Tuesday, another prominent media member challenged the White House strategy of attacking the Fox News Channel.
This time up at the plate was ABC's Jake Tapper who asked White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs during today's gaggle:
It’s escaped none of our notice that the White House has decided in the last few weeks to declare one of our sister organizations “not a news organization” and to tell the rest of us not to treat them like a news organization. Can you explain why it’s appropriate for the White House to decide that a news organization is not one?
Tapper posted the full exchange with Gibbs at his Political Punch blog (emphases his, file photo):
By now, most NewsBusters readers have seen the Drudge Report item alleging that President Obama called rapper Kanye West (he of the "George Bush doesn't care about black people" fame) a "jackass." This report originated with Terry Moran's rogue tweet to that effect, which later caused ABC to apologize to the White House for relaying off-the-record information to the public at large.
Gossip Web site TMZ.com, however, has no such qualms about relaying off-the-record statements made by celebrities -- even, or especially, when the celebrity in question is the President of the United States.
It's been nearly seven months since CNBC reporter Rick Santelli took a stand against the Obama administration, which inspired the tea party movement - and the White House hasn't forgotten.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked by CNBC Washington correspondent John Harwood why the administration decided to go after Santelli after his Feb. 19 call for a metaphorical revolt over President Barack Obama's economic policies.
"Truthfully, one primary reason," Gibbs said in comments aired on CNBC's Sept. 4 "Squawk on the Street." "And that was - I thought the argument that he was making was both disingenuous and not based on the facts. It was clear that Rick was very passionate about the issue. And look, we have differing opinions from both sides of the political aisle. It was clear to me that the argument that he was making wasn't based on him having actually read our plan."
On Tuesday’s Situation Room, CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux questioned RNC Chairman Michael Steele about the debate over ObamaCare, and alleged that protesters “from your own party...have talked about and compared President Obama to Hitler” at the health care town halls. The anchor also bizarrely asked Steele if he gave Attorney General Holder “credit...for breaking away from President Obama.”
Midway through her interview with the GOP leader, Malveaux made the left-wing allegation that Republican activists were using Nazi imagery against the President at the town halls: “How honest do you think the debate has been- the discussion? In light of some of the town hall meetings, some of the rhetoric that we’ve seen from both sides, but specifically those who are from your own party who have talked about and compared President Obama to- to Hitler.”
CNN has raised the issue of the Nazi comparisons at the health care town halls in the past weeks, all the while making three significant omissions. First, they neglected to mention that early in August, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused the anti-ObamaCare protesters of “carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town hall meeting on health care,” which led to Rush Limbaugh pointing out the similarities between the DNC health care logo and a Nazi symbol. They have also failed to mention that supporters of leftist Lyndon LaRouche bore posters of President Obama defaced with a Hitler mustache.
NBC's Matt Lauer, on Tuesday's "Today" show, invited on Robert Gibbs to preview Barack Obama's town hall meeting on health care and warned the White House press secretary that it could become a "Super Bowl for shouters." In a segment headlined: "Town Hall Tensions, Obama Battles Health Care Outrage," Lauer, given all the "tension" at the meetings, worried about the President of the United States being shouted down:
MATT LAUER: Let me start with a blunt question. Is this a good idea? I mean, you're gonna send the President out there in a town hall forum and two more later in the week. This will, in some ways, become the Super Bowl for these shouters.
ROBERT GIBBS: Yeah.
LAUER: They're gonna get a chance to shout down the President of the United States. They've got nothing to lose, but the President certainly does. Doesn't he?
A little later in the interview Lauer granted that protestors "may give voice" to "real concerns" about health care reform but noted they may do it "in an inappropriate way." Lauer then went on to comment that once "you take the shouting out of it," Obama faced opposition from within his own party but feared that, that could lead to "health care reform-lite."
By this time, the NewsBusters connoisseur will have surely heard about yesterday’s unofficial celebration in the White House press briefing. Like many parties, it was somewhat louder than normal, a bit tense at points, and the press – specifically Chip Reid and Helen Thomas – topped off the early Independence Day festivities by roasting (figuratively, of course) Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
That, incidentally, does not normally happen at parties – even at the White House.
The Robert Roast was, of course, in reference to the recent spate of staged White House press events. The White House press corps, apparently, do not enjoy heavily produced events, such as the “town hall” meeting with DNC volunteers and union members. However, Carl Bernstein, appearing on the July 2 Morning Joe, did not take kindly to the gentle press-corps broiling:
“Nixon didn’t try to do that,” Thomas said. “They couldn’t control (the media). They didn’t try. “What the hell do they think we are, puppets?” Thomas said. “They’re supposed to stay out of our business. They are our public servants. We pay them.” Thomas said she was especially concerned about the arrangement between the Obama Administration and a writer from the liberal Huffington Post Web site. The writer was invited by the White House to President Obama’s press conference last week on the understanding that he would ask Obama a question about Iran from among questions that had been sent to him by people in Iran. “When you call the reporter the night before you know damn well what they are going to ask to control you,” Thomas said.
Is the press corps starting to tire of the Obama Administration?
At a press conference today, Helen Thomas and CBS’s Chip Reid got into it with Robert Gibbs over how the administration has been prepackaging media events.
First Reid asked why the questions for Wednesday’s town hall on healthcare were being preselected. After Gibbs tried to dodge that question a few times, Thomas became involved, saying, “We have never had that in the White House. I’m amazed that you people … call for openness and transparency.”
Saturday’s NBC Nightly News aired a report filed by NBC News correspondent Lisa Myers in which she looked into President Obama’s tendency to award lavish jobs as ambassadors to some of his top campaign fund-raisers – whose qualifications in foreign policy are questionable – and in which she noted that Obama had criticized President Bush for appointing donors to positions in government. Myers: "It's worth noting that candidate Obama criticized President Bush for rewarding his donors with ambassadorships."
Anchor Lester Holt introduced the story: "Now to NBC News ‘In Depth,’ and another tradition still going strong in Washington: rewarding major fund-raisers with plum positions as foreign ambassadors. It's a custom apparently embraced by President Obama. One-third of his nominees raised big money for his campaign."
There is little argument that the British press is doing a better job than its U.S. counterparts covering the Obama administration's less than perfect performance.
If the reactions of Nile Gardiner and James Delingpole at the UK Telegraph to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs's blanket criticism of British journalism are any indication, UK reporters are also more willing to stand up for themselves instead of filing toothless complaints and letting veiled threats go by without blowback.
First, via Howard Kurtz, here's the fine whine from Associated Press reporter, President of the White House Correspondents' Association, and Democratic operative Jennifer Loven about the Obama administration's penchant for anonymous, "on background" briefings:
Those of us seeking truth in reporting, especially the inconvenient truths about a Democratic presidential administration, are re-learning the lessons of the Clinton Era:
First, that the "newspapers of record," the Associated Press, and the major TV networks (except Fox) are usually the last places you want to go to learn what's really going on, and the first place to visit if you want a rendition of the Democratic-left wing party line.
Second, that some of the best reporting and fact-checking can be found in editorials at the Wall Street Journal and Investors Business Daily.
Third, that the many of the British papers will dig up and expose administration-embarrassing news most of America's newsprint apparatchiks will bury if they find them, and ignore if they can.
In 2009, there is a fourth lesson, which is that much of the investigative reporting vacuum created by the establishment media is being filled by the center-right blogosphere.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is very upset that Lesson Three is again in force, and made his displeasure known (HT Politico) in reaction to a UK Telegraph report alleging that photos from the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq "include images of apparent rape and sexual abuse":
Patrick Gavin at the Politico – the same reporter that discovered how reporters reverently stood for President Obama in White House briefing room, when they didn’t do the same for Bush – has found another measure of media comfort and joy over Team Obama. Call it the Gibbs Giggle Index:
Whenever there’s laughter in the James S. Brady Briefing Room — by either the briefer or the briefed — the official White House stenographer indicates as much by inserting "(Laughter.)" into the transcript.
And in Robert Gibbs’ first four months as President Barack Obama’s press secretary, there have been more than 600 instances of "(Laughter.)" during his regular press briefings — an average of more than 10 laughs per day.
It’s a gaudy statistic — and one that puts his predecessors to shame.
Dana Perino, George W. Bush’s last press secretary, got all of 57 laughs in her first four months. Scott McClellan, another Bush press secretary, got just 66 laughs in his first four months.
Gibbs even bests the late Tony Snow, whose jocular performances — dubbed "The Tony Snow Show" by some — drew a relatively paltry 217 laughs during his first four months on the job.
The Joe Biden Gaffe Express almost ran off the tracks Thursday. Fortunately, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was there to explain to America exactly what the Vice President meant when he told NBC's Matt Lauer people shouldn't fly on airplanes or ride the subway because of the recent swine flu outbreak.
Just hours after Biden made these comments on the "Today" show (video embedded right), Gibbs was asked about them by ABC's Jake Tapper.
Here is the marvelous exchange (video embedded below the fold with transcript h/t TVNewser):
No bias here, just some fun at White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs's expense.
"White House Press Secretary began his daily briefing, even though Pres. Obama was speaking at the U.Conn event. Considered a no-no," CBS News correspondent Mark Knoller noted via his Twitter account just shortly after 2:30 p.m. EDT.
Education journalist Dakarai I. Aarons asked Knoller:
@markknoller any precedent for holding a briefing while the president is speaking elsewhere?
To which the veteran journalist answered:
@d_aarons In 30 years of covering the White House - it's just not done. the press secretary waits till the Pres is done, before starting...
It must be hard to keep a straight face when you report that the President of United States going to cut $100 million from a $3.5 trillion budget and then say he is serious about cutting government spending.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs couldn't pull it off. In the White House's April 20 press briefing, Gibbs was asked by Associated Press reporter Jennifer Loven why the $100-million target was so small and she even accused him of making a joke about it.
"I'm being completely sincere that only in Washington, D.C. is $100 million not a lot of money," Gibbs said. "It is where I'm from. It is where I grew up. And I think it is for hundreds of millions of Americans."
But somehow, CNN correspondent Elaine Quijano pulled it off. Originally on CNN's April 20 "American Morning," and again on CNN throughout April 20, Quijano reported the Obama administration was making an effort to cut spending.