White House press secretary Robert Gibbs could be on the way up in the Obama White House as a lengthy Washington Post profile today highlights his influential role in the administration -- seemingly much more so than past press secretaries.
Writer Jason Horowitz, noting the press room podium "matters a lot less than it used to," highlights Gibbs' dual roles as both Obama's PR head and trusted advisor and suggests the Alabaman could be in-line to replace David Axelrod when he steps aside to focus on the 2012 re-elect.
Ex-communications director Anita Dunn notes of Gibbs: "He is one of the very few people who can sit in on anything he wants to sit in on."
Gibbs is too discreet to say which job he prefers, but it's not hard to figure out. Listen to the press secretary talk about the media as a predictable, hyperventilating rabble obsessed with access and covering "everything as make or break," or observe his frustration percolating in the briefing room. Then ask him whether he has improved as a big-picture strategist, and the administration's leading purveyor of evasive, circuitous sentences suddenly speaks to the point.
The increasing use of social media tools to get out a message (at the expense of the W.H. press corps) has contributed to a tangible distaste for Gibbs among reporters on his beat. Perhaps they won't have to lodge anonymous complaints much longer if Gibbs' podium will be that launch pad.