White House press secretary Robert Gibbs is seriously considering taking a new position outside the White House, Politico reports. The chief spokesman for the Obama administration is reportedly considering filling in as a media surrogate for Obama's upcoming 2012 re-election campaign.
Senior administration officials say Gibbs has not solidified his plans yet and the administration has not found a replacement for him yet. If he decides to leave, Gibbs' departure will likely come as other White House positions are being moved around, including senior advisor David Axelrod who is expected to leave to begin work on the campaign within the next month.
The two top candidates to replace Gibbs are his deputy, Bill Burton, and Vice President Joe Biden’s spokesman, Jay Carney – although White House officials haven’t ruled out the possibility of other candidates, sources say, which could delay the handover for a few weeks.
Gibbs had discussed staying at the White House, possibly as a senior adviser, with interim chief of staff Pete Rouse and Obama himself, but they concluded he could best serve the president from the outside – as an occasional cable TV commentator and as a political adviser unconstrained by the demands of briefing the press or the responsibilities of serving as a central member of Obama’s kitchen cabinet present at most major policy decisions.
Even after he leaves the White House, Gibbs will remain in close contact with the president and is likely to be included in many major decisions, an official told POLITICO. ...
The selection of a Gibbs successor has proven to be harder than originally envisioned. Burton, a favorite of Obama’s who is popular with the press and West Wing staff, has been Gibbs’ stand-in on the road or at the podium during the press secretary’s intermittent absences. But some in Obama’s inner circle view him as too young and inexperienced for the job of delivering Obama’s message and serving as the face of the White House on a day-to-day basis.
I personally hope the Burton rumor is true, especially since we would have more episodes like this to look forward to: