White House’s Perino gets last laugh

January 16, 2009

WASHINGTON – She got ’em.

White House press secretaries probably dream of turning the tables on reporters and having a public laugh at their expense. Well Dana Perino got that wish.

The briefing room was packed to BUSH/overflowing on Friday for Perino’s final say as spokeswoman for President George W. Bush, who leaves office next week.

“So much history has happened at the White House, and much of it occurred right here in this room,” she began.

Then followed a slide show of journalists in action over the years — working on a crossword puzzle during a briefing, apparently trying to grow a mustache, snoozing in chairs outside.

It was all good-natured humor and Perino probably got more laughs at her 145th and final briefing than any previous ones.

“I wish my successor, Robert Gibbs, all the very best. Please go easy on him — for a week,” Perino said.

She mentioned predecessors Tony Snow and Ari Fleischer, but not Scott McClellan who wrote a book full of criticism of the Bush White House.

Perino brushed off a question about the omission with “no harm meant, I just didn’t mention him.”

In a long tradition of White House press secretaries Perino has written a note and put it into the pocket of a bullet-proof vest that has been passed down through the years. But no word on what it says.

Asked whether she would do the job again the answer was unequivocal.

“If given a chance to do it over again, would I? Yes. But would I ever come back and do this? No. No.”

For more Reuters political news click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (Perino says good bye at last press briefing)


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

I found Perino a troubling symptom of an underlying malignancy in the Bush administration. She was furtive, deceptive and plain arrogant. I hope we don’t have the likes of her anymore. The press is so important in protecting American freedoms. I suspect that if it wasn’t for the press, politicians would do just about anything…just tell the truth, and the press shall transmit it to the best of their ability. Sadly, Perino never learned this lesson as she sought to place a spin on everything.

Posted by barrett hays | Report as abusive

I have news for you. Every white house press secretary will put their own spin on the President’s agenda. That is their job. Arrogant, misleading, and even untruthful, get used to it if you watch them, and get used to seeing Obama’s secretary do the same.

Posted by ssatan | Report as abusive

sorry but the new york times has sounded the death knell on credibility, truth is not part of their vocabulary.also reuters did not fall to far from the tree,and as usual my posting will probably waste basket.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

no way will dem press secretaries be as furtive, conniving deceiving and cunning as repug press secretaries.

after all the repug press secretaries were trying to put a spin on gross political negligence. some examples:

abu graib
foreclosure crisis
credit crisis

when this potus and his administration get to heaven, I am afraid that those pearly white gates will have a quickly descending path right behind them that will lead to their well-earned fate.

Jesus is not pleased!!

Posted by AING | Report as abusive

@barrett hays: Are you kidding? are you in a hole somewhere? the Obama drooling sycophant media will do anything but report the truth in the next administration. Joseph Goebbels would have been proud of the American media today.

Posted by Jake | Report as abusive

I don’t get why people always think democratic administrations above reproach. That is just nonsense.

This administration, like all administrations, will have their own issues to deal with. There will be critics and there will be cheerleaders. But just the same, there will be rough spots.

I am encouraged that Obama is softening his campaign rhetoric about Iraq, Afghanistan and the policies that go with them. There is going to be a continuation of those policies because they are working. The Bush legacy is already taking shape as one where more “right/correct” was done than wrong. But don’t take it from me, history through the test of time will show this to be true.

In the meantime, Perrino did a fine job and I am sure the incoming press secretary and staff will have their hands full too.

Anything think they can do better? It is a thankless, but important, job.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

The New York Times published secret information and battlefield intel just to sell a story or out of pure hate for Bush, yea their job is to protect American freedom but they have their own idealogy that comes before anyones freedom, Reuters was caught red handed printing doctored photos

Posted by steve | Report as abusive

The American people can’t handle the truth and they certainly won’t get it from Obama and his band of Clintonites. I hope Drudge and the “whistle – blowers” and Rush keep them honest. I pray all the lefty news organizations fail as it seems they are and that Obama screws thing up as he will !!!!

Posted by hal smith | Report as abusive