The house on fire method of crises handling

March 9, 2009

Put on that fire gear, there are crises to extinguish.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, who has compared policy to a multi-legged stool, on Monday offered a lesson in how to douse the flames of the many crises facing the Obama administration.USA-OBAMA/

“Which room are you going to put out first?  Or are you going to call the fire department and ask them to put all of it out?  Or are you going to say, you know what, we love the living room; start over there.  And if you can, get quickly to the kitchen, and next to the den,” Gibbs said.

“We could do that. And maybe by the time they get to the kitchen or the den the whole house is in ashes,” he said.

Scary. Raises the question, is Rome burning again?

The solution, Gibbs says, is to put all the fires out.

“Instead of asking the fire department to pick different rooms in which to extinguish, the president has decided to alert the fire department and everyone involved; that we have a responsibility to move this country forward, address the long-term problems and the short-term problems in order to create jobs for the future.”

Photo credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (Gibbs at press briefing in January)

Click here for more Reuters political coverage

5 comments

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/

We are in serious trouble. Obama is so in over his head he has to use tele-prompters for the most simple of speeches. He has to be told what to say, where to go, and what to do every step of the way, every day. He knows nothing about running a country. His only concern is his image.
The stock market has spoken, and the whole world has no confidence in this administration at all.

yes every room in the house is on fire,but they throwing gas on it to put it out.buffet threw away a billion to try and validate this crew.it reminds me of the fairy story about the king with out any clothes,”obama is in the altogether,the altogether”can somebody please whisper to him his spend plan is not working.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

The questions Mr. Gibbs is asked each day and his answers are way over the heads of the average person. One of the reasons education is so high on the Presidents agenda. The blogs are overrun with the comments of dimwits. The biggest enemy of the American people is hanging on the wall above their bathroom sink.

Posted by coralights | Report as abusive

coralights, this dimwit is a small business a owner, have been most of my life, the engine of the country ,are you like obama never ran one?don,t worry you don,t have to tell me.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Love it when specious analogies are used and the audience buys into it. That’s always a great propaganda move and the media hearing the house-on-fire analogy bought it. How about my analogy, one the Australians would understand. There is a wildfire and the people are on a hill watching smoke swirl around their assets. The whole town is threatened. Looters are breaking into the bank and looting ATMs. Which building does the fire brigade save first? Or do they spread themselves so thin they lose the entire town. The mayor weighs the risks. He saves the bank so the townies can rebuild and use their ATM cards for shelter at a nearby Hyatt. Meanwhile the council has time to decide other priorities. What to rebuild first? The school house? The clinic? Or,housing? With the Obama/Gibbs strategy of pouring water on everything at once, the whole town would have burned to the ground. At least my analogy recognizes our situation is too complex to be compared to a one-bedroom house afire. (After saving the bank, the mayor had to call in the National Guard to keep the looters from returning again and again.)