White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs to Step Down

Good riddance: White House press secretary and Obama confidante Robert Gibbs has announced he is stepping down from his position. He plans to stay within Obama's inner-circle as the 2012 election approaches.

The New York Timesreports that Gibbs is expected to leave early next month, with his successor likely to be named within the next two weeks.

The departure of Mr. Gibbs is part of a series of moves inside the West Wing as the president prepares for a new phase of his administration. The internal shuffling also could bring a new White House chief of staff, a decision the president is expected to make by week’s end, with an announcement as early as next week....

The leading potential replacements for press secretary include Jay Carney, a spokesman for Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., along with Bill Burton and Josh Earnest, who work as deputies to Mr. Gibbs. Other candidates also could be considered, an administration official said.

Gibbs said he has "no intention of establishing a political consulting or lobbying business" and noted that he plans to work out of the downtown D.C. office used over the past two years by 2008 Obama campaign manager David Plouffe. Plouffe, in turn, will move to the White House, where he will serve as a senior adviser to the president.

President Obama released a statement on Gibbs' resignation this morning:

For the last six years, Robert has been a close friend, one of my closest advisers and an effective advocate from the podium for what this administration has been doing to move America forward.  I think it’s natural for him to want to step back, reflect and retool.  That brings up some challenges and opportunities for the White House – but it doesn’t change the important role that Robert will continue to play on our team.

John Nichols at The Nation echos the left's sense of relief over the departure of a press secretary who "was never a particularly good communicator" and who struggled to get Obama's messages across "on even the most basic levels." "Whoever replaces Gibbs will be an improvement," Nichols notes. And it's hard to disagree with that.

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at January 5, 2011, 7:03am

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