Amid the first big shake-up of President Obama's administration, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs is leaving to form an outside consulting firm. Although Gibbs has been Obama's chief spokesman since his 2004 run for Senate, and is one of the president's closest advisers, he has annoyed liberals, conservatives, Fox News, and the White House press corps in his two years at the podium. Will Obama stumble without Gibbs, or do better with a new press secretary? (Watch Robert Gibbs' announcement)
"Good riddance" to a bad mouthpiece: "Gibbs may have been the most annoying member of the Obama administration," says Jacob Heilbrunn in The National Interest, and the departure of the "arrogant, complacent, shallow," and smug press secretary "should create a thousand hosannas across the land." Whoever replaces Gibbs, "it's hard to him imagine doing worse."
"Good riddance to Robert Gibbs"
Obama is losing "an extreme talent": The press corps found Gibbs "frustratingly cautious and opaque," say Marc Ambinder and Aamer Madhani in National Journal. But that paid off: While some "unguarded," off-camera comments live to haunt him, "remarkably, Gibbs never had to walk back a single thing he said on the podium." He ran a tight ship, had Obama's ear and his "complete trust," and will be remembered as "one of the most influential press aides in modern memory."
"White House spokesman Gibbs leaving for campaign"
Gibbs was talented, but lacks "TV charisma": Gibbs' "inside sway" matters, but a press secretary "is mostly judged on how he or she performs on television," says Michael Tomasky in The Guardian. And through no fault of his own, "Gibbs is a little flat and unmemorable" as a "TV character." It's probably been "a good idea for a black president to have a white guy from Alabama be his public face," but Obama could use a "more charismatic" spokesman for Act 2.
"Out goes Gibbs, in comes Daley... maybe"
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