White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Wednesday that he is leaving his job as President Barack Obama’s chief spokesman in the next few weeks to serve as a private-sector consultant for Obama’s re-election campaign and Democratic media surrogate.
The 39 year-old Alabama native – the consummate Obama insider – confirmed what had been reported in POLITICO and other news outlets – that he’s decided to leave the White House rather than stay on in a new capacity, as many had expected.
“This has been an extraordinary journey, an amazing privilege to serve the country and to serve this president. It’s an opportunity, quite frankly, of a lifetime,” Gibbs told the New York Times. “But it’s important to take a step back and recharge, ahead of 2012, when we transition to the task of re-electing the president.”
Administration officials had been tight-lipped about the move, but Obama offered up a Gibbs valediction after the news of his decision broke Wednesday morning.
Gibbs, Obama told the Times in an interview, “will continue to shape the dialogue politically for many years to come.”
“We’ve been on this ride together since I won my Senate primary in 2004,” Obama said. “He’s had a six-year stretch now where basically he’s been going 24/7 with relatively modest pay. I think it’s natural for someone like Robert to want to step back for a second to reflect, retool and that, as a consequence, brings about both challenges and opportunities for the White House.”
Gibbs’s departure from the podium he has dominated for a stormy and historic two years is only one in a series of moves that, taken together, constitute a major makeover of Obama’s battle-weary West Wing two months after the Democrats’ defeat in the midterms.
Read More: By GLENN THRUSH & CAROL E. LEE, Politico
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