“Obviously, Gibbs’ departure is not the biggest one today,” President Obama joked, referring to the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
So began the 250th press briefing of the Obama Administration and the last time Robert Gibbs stepped behind the podium as the White House Press Secretary.
Obama walked Gibbs into the briefing room after making an official statement to cameras about the situation in Egypt. The president recalled when Gibbs began working for him while he was running for the US Senate in Illinois. “I still didn’t have a lot of money, so all I could afford was Gibbs.”
He then shared a bit of trivia about his keynote address in Boston at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. It was the speech that launched Obama into the national spotlight and set him on the fast track to the White House. But what most of us didn’t know was that they were having a problem deciding which tie Obama should wear. All eyes turned to Gibbs and the blue silk tie around his neck.
Gibbs relented and took off the tie. Obama quipped, [Gibbs was] willing to take one for the Gipper.”
“I have to tell you, that I know there’s a simmering resentment that he never got it back. So as a consequence I wanted here, today, to present on the record, on camera, finally returning Robert’s tie. If he chooses to break the glass, he can,” Obama said as he handed over a frame with the tie, photos and a handwritten note.
“Robert has not only been an extraordinary press secretary but he has been a great friend. You could not ask for somebody better in the foxhole with you.”
Gibbs shook hands and embraced the president who left the room so that he could begin the briefing. While taking his place at the podium, Gibbs joked: “I liked that tie.”
Before jumping into the news of the day, Gibbs took a moment to thank everyone he works with. “It is a tremendous honor and privilege to do this each and every day, to serve and to take part in days like today that are so momentous. I want to thank the president and all of his team for, again, the privilege to serve.”
Watch the briefing here:
The AtlanticWire has also put together some highlights from Gibbs “rocky tenure” and the Los Angeles Times spoke with Gibbs who reflected on tenure as press secretary.
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