|White House press secretary Robert Gibbs|
- critics comparing Obama to Bush are crazy
The Obama administration's most public face, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, has tried to climb down from angry remarks he aimed at leftwing critics, calling them "crazy".
In an interview with The Hill newspaper in Washington DC, Gibbs revealed frustration at attacks on the administration from liberal Democrats and others on the left, in terms likely to make relations even worse:
"I hear these people saying he's like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested," Gibbs said. "I mean, it's crazy."Within hours of the interview being published, Gibbs tried to walk back his remarks, calling them "inartful". He told the Huffington Post:
The press secretary dismissed the "professional left" in terms very similar to those used by their opponents on the ideological right, saying, "They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we've eliminated the Pentagon. That's not reality."
I watch too much cable, I admit. Day after day it gets frustrating. Yesterday I watched as someone called legislation to prevent teacher layoffs a bailout - but I know that's not a view held by many, nor were the views I was frustrated about.Gibbs went on to say: "So we should all, me included, stop fighting each other and arguing about our differences on certain policies".
His remarks reflect the White House's sensitivity at criticism from the left of the Democratic party, who are unhappy that Obama has too often appeared to compromise on domestic policy while continuing Bush administration policies on Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as a continued failure to close Guantanamo prison.
Gibbs's remarks were quickly taken up and dissected on liberal blogs.
Glenn Greenwald at Salon described Gibbs's remarks as "one of the most petulant, self-pitying outbursts seen from a top political official in recent memory, half derived from a paranoid Richard Nixon rant and the other half from a Sean Hannity/Sarah Palin caricature of The Far Left". Chris Bowers of the OpenLeft blog responded in a post headlined "Dear swing voters, you suck. Love, The White House":
If the White House really doesn't think it has any problems among self-identified liberals or progressives, and that all the complaints are coming from a grasstop elite, it needs to look at the data again.