Entries in Press Secretary (8)


Romney Campaign Names Press Secretary for Ann Romney

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- The Romney campaign has hired a new press secretary to handle the schedule of Ann Romney, an indication that the 63-year-old grandmother of 18 will soon be ramping up her public schedule, ABC News has learned exclusively.

Sarah Haley, formerly of Sen. Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign, where she served as the national coalitions director as well as the director of communications for Karen Santorum, has been picked for the job.

“We are thrilled to add such a tremendous talent to the Romney communications team. Mrs. Romney will be well-served by a press and political pro like Sarah,” Romney campaign director of communications Gail Gitcho told ABC News.

Before working for the Santorum campaign, Haley was the spokeswoman for Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. She previously worked in the media as well, spending time at Fox News Channel’s national headquarters where she worked on the O’Reilly Factor and The Live Desk with Martha MacCallum, as well as to help produce special coverage of the 2007 Republican primaries.

Up until now, Ann Romney’s media appearances have been handled by her husband’s press shop.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Press Staff Named for Obama 2012

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Starting next month, former White House assistant press secretary Ben LaBolt will serve as spokesman for President Obama’s re-election campaign.

Former White House associate director of press advance and press pool wrangler Katie Hogan will be his deputy.

LaBolt served as the spokesman for Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel’s campaign.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Obama Says Goodbye to Gibbs, With a Tie Returned 7 Years Late

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Outgoing White House press secretary Robert Gibbs got quite the departing gift from President Obama Friday on his last day: his old tie back.

The president had borrowed a light blue tie from Gibbs, taking it right from his neck, shortly before taking the stage for his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, the speech that is largely credited with catapulting a then-little known Senator from Illinois to the national scene.

“Ten minutes before we were about to go on stage, we were still having an argument about ties.  I had bought five, six ties.  And Michelle didn't like any of them,” Obama recalled, “And then somebody -- I don't remember who it was -- turned and said:  ‘You know what?  What about Gibbs's tie?  What about Gibbs's tie?  That might look good.'”

And that’s the tie that then-Senator Obama wore at the national convention.

“He has not said about -- anything about this tie all these years,” Obama said, “but I have to tell you that I know there's a simmering resentment that he never got it back. I wanted this on the record, on camera that I'm finally returning Robert's tie.”

The president then presented Gibbs with the light blue tie, framed, along with a picture of President Obama wearing it during his speech in 2004, and a picture of them together in the Oval Office. A personal message was scribbled at the bottom with words from the president to Gibbs.

“If he chooses to break the glass, he can,” Obama joked if Gibbs’ wanted to ever actually wear the now-encapsulated famous tie again.

“But this is going to be a reminder to me that Robert has not only been an extraordinary press secretary, but he has been a great friend,” President Obama said, adding, “And you could not ask for somebody better in the foxhole with you during all the twists and turns of my candidacy and then the incredible challenges that we faced over the last two years.”  

Robert Gibbs first started working for Obama during his 2004 Senate campaign.

“I still didn't have a lot of money, so all I could afford was Gibbs,” the president joked.

Gibbs—whose last day at the podium is Friday after 250 formal briefings -- seemed emotional when speaking about his tenure, not only at the White House, but working with Obama over the years.

“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,” Gibbs said Friday.

President Obama joked that, “Obviously, Gibbs' departure is not the biggest one today,” a veiled reference to the resignation today by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Vice President Biden’s spokesman, Jay Carney, has been chosen to replace Gibbs, starting on Monday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gibbs Exits Stage Left

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- “I am going to miss almost all of you,” Robert Gibbs laughed as he turned and departed the lectern on his last week in the spotlight speaking for the President of the United States.  It is a job that carries global weight.

“People are watching it not just throughout this country but throughout this world,” Gibbs told one of his final briefings, which was dominated by questions about the freedom reforms being demanded in Egypt. “And your questions and my answers are being translated in languages that are spoken in continents far away. I think it demonstrates the importance of a strong freedom of the press, a sharing of information.”

The proud, red-haired son of Auburn, Alabama has been spokesman for the president through two wars, a historically severe recession, and a devastating Gulf oil spill for which he also took a significant lead on policy.

There have been colorful moments such as the August day in 2010 when Gibbs lost an Olympic bet to the Canadian prime minister’s spokesman and Gibbs arrived in the briefing room wearing an enormous Canadian hockey jersey. The sight produced whoops and laughter from the reporters, and applause when he tugged it off to reveal a Team USA jersey underneath.

Gibbs could get prickly about politics, suggesting in his office one day that “the professional left” should stop criticizing the President for not accomplishing all his ambitious goals with enough speed.

“I watch a lot of cable TV,” he argued at his briefing the next day, “and you don’t have to watch long to get frustrated by some of what’s said.” He survived, with humor. “There is no truth to the rumor I have installed an inflatable exit to my office.”

But Gibbs did not survive the West Wing reshuffling after the disastrous midterm elections.  There was no policy job higher up the senior staff food chain and so he decided to walk away from the press briefing room microphone. But not from the public discourse.  Robert Gibbs will show up next as a pundit in his new career as a Democratic consultant.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Who Will Be Next White House Press Secretary?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- No sooner did White House press secretary Robert Gibbs announce his upcoming resignation than the favorite Washington, D.C. parlor game started -- guessing who will be his replacement.

And then the tragedy in Tucson, the visit of the Chinese president to Washington last week and the president's State of the Union address diverted the press corps to other matters.

But the search and vetting for a new press secretary have been ongoing in the White House, despite the busy month.  Gibbs told reporters Wednesday that he expects President Obama could announce his replacement any day now, possibly even later this week.

"I anticipate that the president is actually quite close in that," Gibbs said.  "And I anticipate that I will, as I've said, probably leave around sometime in mid-February."

The job of press secretary is high-profile.  Aside from the president himself there is no more visible public face of the administration.  The press secretary is seen at daily on-camera briefings, serves as a liaison between the president and the press, is responsible for pushing the administration's message of the day and for defending not only the president but the administration's policies.

Here is a list, in alphabetical order, of some of the names that have been rumored to be in the mix as potential contenders to be the next face behind the White House podium:

-- Deputy White House press secretary Bill Burton, who substituted for Gibbs in more than 50 off-camera "gaggles" or briefings and has a good working relationship with White House reporters.  He also has a good relationship with the president, serving as his national press secretary during the 2008 presidential campaign.

-- Vice President Biden's current communications director, Jay Carney.

-- Stephanie Cutter, a veteran communications aide currently serving as assistant to the president for special projects.

-- Josh Earnest, also a Deputy White House press secretary in the administration, who held communications roles during the president's campaign, heading the Presidential Inaugural Committee and the Iowa communications office.

-- Karen Finney, former Democratic National Committee spokeswoman.

-- Jennifer Psaki, Deputy White House communications director. Psaki has a long history working with Obama, serving as a deputy press secretary during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Press Secretary Robert Gibbs to Leave White House Next Month

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- White House press secretary Robert Gibbs will be stepping down from his position in February, ABC News has learned.

Aides confirmed his scheduled departure on Wednesday.

President Obama is, according to sources, happy with Gibbs’ work as press secretary, but Gibbs is eager to leave the podium and assume a more “senior counselor” role.

Democrats say Gibbs is exploring the possibility of serving as an outside adviser for the White House, DNC and the re-election campaign.  That might allow Gibbs the opportunity to create a defined and effective role, albeit one outside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


The 'Twitterverse' Gets First Question at the White House Briefing

Photo Courtesy - Twitter dot com(WASHINGTON) -- On Thursday, in a promised pattern for the future, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs broke tradition and called on Twitter for the first question in the daily White House briefing.
Noting that the Twitter community now gets “first crack” at him before he faces the White House press corps at the daily briefing, Gibbs launched the new feature.

This morning Gibbs, aka @PressSec, sent out a tweet to his 109,022  followers, “Something new: You take first crack. Use #1q in a q & I'll answer 1 on vid before today's briefing. What do you want to know?”

Gibbs answered the chosen question before taking the podium, which the White House posted later on the White House’s YouTube page.

“What is the purpose of the Indian trip, why not Europe to sure [sic] up wavering Afghan support," the tweet asked of Gibbs.

“The purpose of the India trip that the president will take at the end of next week is anchored in two economic summits that will  happen at the latter end of the trip, the G20 and the APEC summit,” Gibbs explained from his office. “We begin in India because not only is Asia one of the fastest growing regions of the world, but India is one of the fastest growing economies within Asia.”

Gibbs said that the Afghanistan would be a main topic during the NATO summit when the president goes to Lisbon the following week.

For good measure Gibbs took a second, more light-hearted, Twitter question, wondering if it is true that the new Secret Service code word for the president is dude, a veiled reference to Jon Stewart last night calling President Obama "dude" during a segment with the president.

Gibbs assured the questioner that the president’s code name is still “Renegade”, as it was first chosen in 2007 when he started receiving secret service protection.

Gibbs said taking questions from the Twittterverse first is something the White House regularly hopes to do.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Report: Gibbs May Leave White House to Chair DNC

Photo Courtesy - Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- White House press secretary Robert Gibbs denies that he has had “any conversations about the future” after a report that Democratic insiders are weighing the possibility of naming him to Chair the Democratic National Committee ahead of President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

Current DNC Chair Tim Kaine would be appointed to a cabinet or other high-ranking position in the Obama Administration, according to Politico, which cited Democratic insiders.

“It is a great honor to have the job I have right now and I am very happy doing it,” Gibbs said in a tweet.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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