Robert Gibbs to leave White House
January 5th, 2011
12:59 PM ET

Robert Gibbs to leave White House

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama's press secretary, Robert Gibbs, will leave the White House after the upcoming State of the Union address, he told CNN on Wednesday.

Gibbs will become a pundit, supporting White House positions on cable television and in speeches, White House staff said.

No decision has been made about his replacement, he said. Gibbs himself will stay in the D.C. area, he said.

Obama hailed Gibbs as "a close friend, one of my closest advisers and an effective advocate from the podium."

The president said it is "natural" for his longtime aide "to want to step back, reflect and retool."

Gibbs had an easy, joking relationship with the press, and brought the briefing room down in laughter when he mocked Sarah Palin by writing notes on his hand, shortly after the former Alaska governor was revealed to have done the same for a question-and-answer session.

He also took a journalist's cell phone away when it rang during a briefing, and tried to confiscate a second one.

And he wore a Canadian hockey jersey at the briefing podium in March when he lost a Winter Olympics bet with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's spokesman.

Gibbs joked his attire "does signal casual Friday" at the White House after Canada beat the United States to win the hockey gold medal.

He turned around to show his last name and the No. 39 on the back of the red-and-white jersey featuring an iconic maple leaf - then took the jersey off to reveal a Team USA jersey underneath, which he wore through the briefing.

Gibbs was Obama's spokesman during the 2008 presidential campaign, having joined the future president's team when Obama ran for U.S. Senate in 2004.

Alabama-born, Gibbs is a vocal supporter of Auburn University who shares Obama's enthusiasm for sports.

Topics: Robert Gibbs

soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Congratulations and best wishes, Mr Gibbs! Good job! You did your best! You did well! Thankyou for your service! I hate to see you go, but I can't blame you! One of the pressmen even asked your were you tired of them, you answered with your same cool calmness; politefully and tactfully! Frankly, I don't believe I could have taken the raucous that long from those vendictive, deceptive, firestorming, conspiracy-starting, buzzards! FAREWELL and GOODBYE!

    January 5, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
  2. Jay in NC

    It started with Gibbs lying to the press corp. Told them that Barry was on the air plane and it went down hill from there. Today Gibbs looked like a little boy who had done something wrong. Daddy Barry scolded him, The First Date probably gave him one of her left hooks to the lip. Ouch, 20 more stitches. Any how, Gibbs is leaving with his tail between his legs. One too many lies were keeping up at night. Good riddance.

    January 5, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
    • Matt


      January 8, 2011 at 6:26 am |
      • tg

        I didn't know telling the truth was juvenile.

        January 11, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  3. A. Goodwin

    Jay in NC – Thanks for that ramble to show the rest of us what utter morons you republicans can be. You may not like our press secretary, but he has done is job with respect and honor. That cannot be said for several of Bush's appointees, such as Ari Fleisher who has an alleged role in the Valerie Plame affair, or Scott McClellan who blatently LIED to the American public about going into warn and then did a 360 after he left his post to critisize the Bush administration for that very issue. You might not like Gibbs because he supports a black, democratic president – but he has done his job well, used humor to ease tensions, and allowed the american people to trust again thanks to his ability to communicate difficult issues.

    January 6, 2011 at 8:16 am |
    • Jay in NC

      First off I take offense you suggesting that I am racist. I guess you have very little to stand on so you want to lob an atomic bomb, however that does tend to kill everyone in the room. Second, who said I was a Republican, I disagree with Gibbs. He is boring, condescending, stiff, and always looks like he is trying to sell us something. (may have just described my self). It is obvious that you love the guy and can not wait to see him on TV. I a waiting for the tell all book.

      January 6, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • CathyJ

      Gibbs did what the Obama administration wanted him to do. He was a good liar. Obama is shaking up everything to be able to put the 'blame' on others in his re elction bid in 2012

      January 10, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
  4. John G

    THANK GOD! The Buffoon is finally leaving. This arrogant ignoramus should of been gone his first hour.

    January 7, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  5. Maryln

    He is leaving to start the campaigning for Obama in 2012, he isn't going far. He's going to have to think of new slogans because I didn't see change or hope. I will never vote for Obama again I would rather stay home.

    January 8, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
  6. Mike

    The Republicans probably dream that he would join their side so they could actually have someone who could speak well.

    January 9, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  7. alumette

    I think Gibbs is just a great guy with a cool sense of humor as well. Best to him in his new gig. I will miss him in his WH job. His replacement has big shoes to fill.

    January 11, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  8. Liz Carter in Georgia

    @CathyJ; Will you please tell us what Gibbs lied about? Just one thing! From what I remember, he told the truth about what was in the 'works' or what was about to happen! How do you think the 'media' was able to jump on it, EVERTHING, and start picking it apart and breaking it down to the 'stupid' masses? Before anything could ever get up off the ground, talked about or implemented, the media had already jumped all over it with 'all four feet', polled it and demonized it! This transparency has to GO!

    January 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  9. laura from willis

    My best wishes to Mr. Gibbs. I think you've done a fantastic job. I am sure that you will serve our President well, in the months to come. WIth you leading the pack, I know we will have no problems keeping President Obama in the White House in 2012.
    Thanks and good luck in all of your endeavors.

    January 13, 2011 at 6:35 am |