Meet the 'Barack Whisperer'

Future press secretary Gibbs has uncommon bond with Obama
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2008 9:51 AM CST
Senior adviser Robert Gibbs answers a question after a news conference in Chicago by President-elect Obama on Friday.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – White House press secretaries can be little more than “a flunky who gets handed a piece of paper with some talking points.” But Robert Gibbs, next in line for the job, has had an uncommonly close relationship with Barack Obama since his Illinois senate campaign, the Washington Post reports. Affable on camera but relentless off, the 37-year-old Alabaman is nicknamed “the Barack Whisperer.”

Though Gibbs agrees with critics that he’s gone a bit far in the heat of the moment, in the press pool says the future press secretary pushes back firmly but with a smile. “He could deliver a harsh message, but do it with a little sense of humor,” said a Newsweek reporter, “so you’d feel punched in the stomach but not in the face.”