Tales from the Trail

Gibbs puts foot down (literally) for “the White House Eight” in India

RTXUDCZ_CompWhite House press secretary Robert Gibbs has had his share of confrontations with reporters. But on Monday, it was Gibbs who came to their defense when Indian officials tried to limit access to a meeting between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Gibbs went so far as to risk getting his foot jammed in the door to help gain access on behalf of journalists who were about to be blocked from covering the bilateral meeting.

He also made clear that if the full contingent of eight “pool” reporters was not allowed in, Obama was prepared to cancel the meeting.

Gibbs led the charge to get the White House pool into the Indian Parliament, according to my White House colleague at Reuters, Alister Bull.

The Washington Post’s Scott Wilson reported that Indian officials sought to cut the number of reporters to five from eight.

He’s powerful… And you’re not?

NUCEAR-IRAN/MISSILES-USAMaybe it was a sign that someone wanted to put the press corps — or possibly the White House staff — in their place.

Who knows, but at the beginning of the daily White House press briefing on Wednesday, a disembodied voice sounded in the briefing room, saying: “THE PRESIDENT IS POWERFUL.”

Reporters and White House staffers in the room laughed, and White House spokesman Robert Gibbs joked about it, to more laughter. But no one offered an explanation for the pronouncement.