Gibbs skillfully dances around Rahm question

September 30, 2010

The performance was worthy of “Dancing with the Stars.”

USA/Watching White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs waltz around the question  of whether White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel had decided to leave and run for mayor of Chicago was quite breathtaking.

Speculation was rife all week that President Barack Obama’s top enforcer would announce that he would leave by the weekend to run for Chicago Mayor, a job he’d always said he wanted.

All that remained was confirmation.

So when anonymous sources told reporters today that Rahm had made the decision and he was leaving, all anybody wanted was confirmation at the White House press briefing.

Well that was not to be. Gibbs stopped just shy of confirming it, doing the Texas two-step in dancing around confirmation, no matter how narrowly the question was asked.

Which led to some interesting verbal constructions, that were nonetheless helpful to reporters who are on Rahm-watch on Friday.

“I’ve got no personnel announcements today, but I will say that the president will have a personnel announcement tomorrow at 11:05 a.m. from the East Room,” Gibbs said.

QUESTION:  So the reports are correct?   

GIBBS: I’m not going to get into this.

QUESTION: Why is this announcement rising to the level of a personal announcement by the president?

GIBBS: Without getting into what the announcement will be…

QUESTION: You know, when people listen to this, this sounds like a game, since we’re talking about Rahm Emanuel’s departure to run for the mayor of Chicago.

GIBBS: Lynn (Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times), come up here.  You should brief.

QUESTION:  So the news report’s accurate that he is leaving to run for mayor of Chicago? 
GIBBS:  I’m not running for mayor, ma’am. 

QUESTION:  I’m talking about Rahm.   

And so it went…

Photo credit: Reuters/Yuri Maltsev (dancers from local Waltz club in Vladivostok), Reuters/Jim Young (Gibbs)

One comment

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Classic Toby. Maybe Rahm’s departure is the cha-cha-cha change Obama needs.

Posted by dougpalmer | Report as abusive