Robert Gibbs: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Robert Gibbs

Assumed office 
January 20, 2009
President Barack Obama
Deputy Dan Pfeiffer
Jennifer Psaki
Josh Earnest
Preceded by Dana Perino

Born March 29, 1971 (1971-03-29) (age 38)
Auburn, Alabama
Political party Democratic
Alma mater North Carolina State University
Profession White House Press Secretary
Website White House Briefing Room

Robert Lane Gibbs[1] (born March 29, 1971) is an American political consultant and the current White House Press Secretary. Gibbs was the communications director for U.S. Senator Barack Obama and Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.[2] Gibbs, who has worked with Obama since 2004, was press secretary of John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign and has previously specialized in Senate campaigns, having served as communications director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and for four individual Senate campaigns, including those of Obama in 2004 and Fritz Hollings in 1998.[3] Gibbs was also the press secretary of Representative Bob Etheridge.[4] On November 22, 2008, Gibbs was announced as the press secretary of the Obama administration.[5] He assumed the role of press secretary on January 20, 2009, and gave his first official briefing on January 22.


Early life and education

Gibbs was born in Auburn, Alabama.[6] His parents, Nancy and Robert Coleman Gibbs, worked in the Auburn University library system and involved their son in politics at an early age.[7][1] Nancy Gibbs would take Robert, then known as "Bobby," to local League of Women Voters meetings rather than hire a babysitter, and involved him in "voter re-identification" work at the county courthouse.[8] Gibbs attended Auburn City Schools and Auburn High School.[6] At Auburn High, Gibbs played saxophone in the Auburn High School Band, goalkeeper on the Tigers' soccer team, and participated on the school's debate squad. Gibbs graduated from Auburn High in 1989,[9] in the same class as novelist Ace Atkins and mathematician, LEGO artist Eric Harshbarger, and the Chief Hospitalist at Valley Medical Center Dr. Michael Mena.

Gibbs then attended North Carolina State University, where he majored in political science. From 1990 through 1992, Gibbs was goalkeeper for the North Carolina State Wolfpack soccer team.[10] Gibbs graduated from North Carolina State cum laude with a degree in political science.[4]


While a student at North Carolina State in 1991, Gibbs became an intern for Congressman Glenn Browder. Gibbs quickly rose through the ranks of Browder's staff, rising to become the representative's executive assistant in Washington, D.C. Gibbs returned to Alabama in 1996 to work on Browder's unsuccessful Senate campaign that year.[8] In 1997, Gibbs was press secretary for Congressman Bob Etheridge of North Carolina and, in 1998, was spokesman for Senator Fritz Hollings' campaign.[4] Gibbs worked in the campaigns of two other senators and served as communications director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, before taking the position of press secretary of John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign.[4]

U.S. presidential election, 2004

Early in the 2004 presidential campaign, Gibbs was the press secretary of Democratic candidate Senator John Kerry. On November 11, 2003, Gibbs resigned "in reaction to the firing of Jim Jordan, abruptly let go by Kerry Sunday night." Gibbs was replaced by Stephanie Cutter, a former spokeswoman for Ted Kennedy. After leaving the Kerry campaign, Gibbs became spokesman for a 527 political group formed to stop the 2004 presidential campaign of Howard Dean which launched attack ads against Dean.[11] Gibbs was criticized in February 2007, during the Obama Presidential campaign, by some left leaning bloggers.[12]

Advisor to Barack Obama

Gibbs joined Barack Obama's 2004 U.S. Senate campaign as communications director in mid-April 2004[13] and remained with the senator through the first two years of Obama's term. Gibbs is credited with guiding Obama through those first years and molding his rise on the national scene. According to the New York Times, Gibbs advised Obama on politics, strategy and messaging, and spent more time with Obama than any other advisor.[2]

U.S. presidential election, 2008

Barack Obama at a rally in Hartford, CT on February 4, 2008

The appointment of Gibbs by Obama to the post of communications chief was met with mild controversy by some critics in the Democratic National Committee, who cited Gibbs' role in the aggressive campaign tactics used to block the nomination of Howard Dean in the 2004 race. Obama, however, referred to Gibbs as his "one-person Southern focus group" and welcomed him as part of his close-knit team that included strategist David Axelrod, campaign director David Plouffe, and research director Devorah Adler. In his communications role, Gibbs became known as "the enforcer" because of his aggressive rapid-response methods for countering disinformation tactics from opponents. Gibbs assumed responsibility for "shaping the campaign message, responding to the 24/7 news cycle, schmoozing with the press and fighting back when he disagree[d] with its reporting."[14] As the chief intermediary between the Obama campaign and the press, Gibbs sought to counter the Republican National Committee's opposition research tactics against Obama in early 2007.[15]

Gibbs adopted a policy of rapid response to claims by conservative news outlets that questioned Obama's religious upbringing. In response to the "Obama is a Muslim" meme suggested by these claims, Gibbs disseminated information to other news networks that Obama is not nor has ever been Muslim. At the time, Gibbs said, "These malicious, irresponsible charges are precisely the kind of politics the American people have grown tired of."[16]

After comments by George W. Bush to the Israeli Knesset questioning Obama's foreign policy platform's focus on international diplomacy, Gibbs responded, calling Bush's comments "astonishing" and "an unprecedented attack on foreign soil." Gibbs argued that Bush's policy amounted to "cowboy diplomacy" that had been discounted by Bush's own Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, and quoted with Gates' own words: "We need to figure out a way to develop some leverage. . . and then sit down and talk...if there is going to be a discussion, then they need something, too. We can't go to a discussion and be completely the demander, with them not feeling that they need anything from us."[17]

He was widely blamed by news media executives for "holding hostage" reporters, while Obama and Hillary Clinton met for the first time after a heavily-contested Democratic primary season. He countered back, “It wasn't an attempt to deceive in any way... It was just private meetings.”[15]

White House Press Secretary

On November 22, 2008, it was announced by the Obama Transition Team that Gibbs would be the White House Press Secretary for the Obama administration.[5] He assumed the role of press secretary on January 20, 2009, and gave his first official briefing on January 22.

In another briefing after the 2010 Winter Olympics, Gibbs was forced to wear a Canadian Hockey Sweater after losing a friendly bet to his Canadian counterpart Dimitri Soudas.[18]


Gibbs is married to Mary Catherine Gibbs, an attorney, and lives in Alexandria, Virginia with their son, Ethan.[14] His parents live in Apex, North Carolina, where his mother Nancy is acquisitions director for the libraries at Duke University.[8] Gibbs is a college football fan, particularly of the Auburn University Tigers.[2]


  1. ^ a b Lowy, Joan (22 November 2008). "N.C. State grad tapped as Obama's press secretary". Retrieved March 13, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c Zeleny, Jeff (6 November 2008). "Robert Gibbs" (Series). The New Team. The New York Times. Retrieved November 6, 2008. 
  3. ^ Cillizza, Chris (16 January 2007). "Barack Obama's Impressive Team" (Blog). The Fix. The Washington Post. Retrieved November 22, 2008. 
  4. ^ a b c d Morrill, Jim; Funk, Tim (9 October 2003). "Carolinas ties key in national campaigns". Charlotte Observer. Retrieved November 22, 2008. 
  5. ^ a b (22 November 2008). "White House Communications and Press Secretary positions announced" (Press release). Newsroom. Office of the President-elect. Retrieved November 22, 2008. 
  6. ^ a b Yen, Hope (22 November 2008). "Obama names longtime spokesman Gibbs press chief". Associated Press. Retrieved November 22, 2008. 
  7. ^ Kochak, Jacque (6 November 2008). "What's next for Robert Gibbs?". The Auburn Villager. Retrieved November 22, 2008. 
  8. ^ a b c Rawls, Phillip (7 November 2008). "Obama spokesman, likely press secretary from Ala.". Associated Press. Opelika-Auburn News. Retrieved November 22, 2008. 
  9. ^ Armistead, Trey (1986-87). "Auburn High School Band - Members 1986-87" (Website). Auburn High School Band. Auburn City Schools. Retrieved November 8, 2008. 
  10. ^ Barett, Barbara (6 November 2008). "NC's Robert Gibbs may be Obama press secretary" (Article). Politics. McClatchy Newspapers. Retrieved November 22, 2008. 
  11. ^ Rutenberg, Jim (16 December 2003). "New Democratic Group Finances a Republican-like Attack on Dean" (Series). The 2004 Campaign. The New York Times. Retrieved November 22, 2008. 
  12. ^ Akers, Mary Ann (23 February 2007). "Bloggers Blast Obama Spokesman" (Blog). The Sleuth Blog. The Washington Post. Retrieved November 22, 2008. .
  13. ^ Krol, Eric; Patterson, John (26 April 2004). "Campaign notebook". Daily Herald: p. 11.,E&p_text_date-0=4/26/2004%20to%204/26/2004)&xcal_numdocs=20&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&xcal_useweights=no. Retrieved April 9, 2009. "Tidbits: Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Barack Obama has hired a new director of communications. Robert Gibbs came to Illinois last week." 
  14. ^ a b Langley, Monica (28 August 2008). "Meet Obama's Media 'Enforcer'" (Article). Politics. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 22, 2008. 
  15. ^ a b Budoff Brown, Carrie (6 November 2008). "Little shock in selection of Gibbs" (Blog). Politics '08. The Politico. Retrieved November 22, 2008. 
  16. ^ Phillips, Kate (24 January 2007). "Obama's Religion and Schooling" (Blog). The Caucus. The New York Times. Retrieved November 22, 2008. 
  17. ^ Phillips, Kate (15 May 2008). "Bush’s Remarks in Israel Rile Obama" (Blog). The Caucus. The New York Times. Retrieved November 22, 2008. 
  18. ^

Further reading

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Dana Perino
White House Press Secretary
2009 – Present
Succeeded by


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Robert Gibbs (born March 29, 1971) is the White House Press Secretary for President Barack Obama.


  • There's no safer investment in the world than in the United States.
    • Press Briefing, March 13, 2009 [1]
  • Q: ...he said, I am not going to raise taxes on anyone making under $250,000. Is that pledge still active?
    Robert Gibbs: We are going to let the process work its way through.
    • Press Briefing, June 29, 2009 [2] [3]

External links

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