Opinion: Robert Gibbs on Fox News. Alone. But he’s OK now.


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Remember that White House war on Fox News?

Well, forget it.

Looks like reaching Fox News’ winning audiences -- fully a third of whom are... shhhh, Democrats who denounce Fox News at work and parties and then go home to secretly watch the channel -- ended up making more sense to White House strategists than trying to freeze out that alleged arm of the Republican Party.

As The Ticket previously reported here, last Tuesday night during the Massachusetts Senate race coverage Fox News drew in 6.8 million viewers, 10 times the audience sleeping over at CNN’s ‘Headline News.’ And now the liberal Air America has silenced itself due to a lack of listeners creating a lack of advertisers creating a dearth of dough.


So President Obama’s chief spokesman, Robert Gibbs, went onboard ‘Fox News Sunday’ Sunday all by himself. To face the dark empire’s death star Chris ‘No, Luke, I Am Your Father’ Wallace.

Of course, Gibbs didn’t make any grand pronouncements. The press secretary’s job is to dodge while appearing to elaborate. But the Obama crowd was on defense all week and....

...had to get some of their folks out to play down the predictable OMG D.C. chatter about the historic upset Senate win of Republican Scott Brown by saying nothing special going on there, same anger as before, move along.

Now, why would an incumbent president, who was just a few short years ago a nobody state senator in Illinois before getting elected to the U.S. Senate, be worried about a nobody state senator in Massachusetts getting elected to the U.S. Senate just a few short years before the 2012 presidential election? Gee, beats us.

Anyway, Gibbs told Wallace several things, not necessarily in this order.

In Obama’s State of the Union speech Wednesday night, can we count on the president, who spent $750 million of other people’s money to get elected, to maintain his populist, bash-the-banks-for-their-big-money-and-talk-protect-the-little-guy line?

Gibbs: ‘Well, absolutely. The -- what you’re going to hear from the president is the same thing you heard from him over the past several years.’

Gibbs came out 100% against Osama bin Laden, who is ‘nothing but a cowardly, murderous thug and terrorist that wil some day -- hopefully soon -- be brought to justice.’ There go the Bin Laden family votes.

So what about the election of a Republican senator for the first time since 1972 in Massachusetts?


Gibbs: ‘There’s no doubt there’s anger and frustration in this country -- we saw it manifest itself in Massachusetts…what people want in this country is they want us to focus on getting this economy moving again. They want us to work together.’

So with the economy and jobs uppermost in American minds, many wonder why all this talk about healthcare? Isn’t that like choosing a war in Iraq when the real enemy is in Afghanistan?

Gibbs: ‘We’ve always been focused on jobs. We -- the president has been focused on jobs since the moment he walked into the Oval Office.”

So what about the president’s sinking polls numbers and defeats in Virginia and the once Democratic strongholds of Massachusetts and New Jersey? Will that change White House strategy on healthcare, etc.?

Gibbs: ‘Well, right now, we’re working with leaders on Capitol Hill to try to figure out the best path forward. We don’t know what that is quite yet.’

So with things going so swimmingly well politically for Obama in recent months, how should we read the president bringing 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe back into his political operation?

Gibbs: ‘He will help supplement an already good political staff led by Patrick Gaspard in the White House in helping us watch the 2010 elections, the gubernatorial, the Senate and the House elections, that will obviously be important to the direction of the country.’


Next Sunday’s must-watch talk show guest switcheroo: Fox News President Roger Ailes goes on ABC’s ‘This Week’ for a discussion panel headed by Barbara Walters.

Yes, really.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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