Robert Gibbs Joins Ron Ziegler and Baghdad Bob

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs recently completed a trifecta of famous press secretaries who humiliated themselves before the world.

On April 17, 1973, Nixon Press Secretary Ron Ziegler gained near immortal status when, in the midst of the Watergate scandal, he said, “This is the operative statement. The others are inoperative.”

Sadly, a man’s life is now widely remembered by one word -- “inoperative.”

Saddam Hussein’s Press Secretary, Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf, AKA “Baghdad Bob,” is remembered by multiple sayings as U.S. troops entered Baghdad, including, “"I triple guarantee you, there are no American soldiers in Baghdad."

In the midst of the deadly serious business that is war, Baghdad Bob brought comic relief.

Now, Robert Gibbs has become the third Press Secretary in modern history to suddenly become like the clock that struck thirteen, thus rendering all subsequent time announcements highly questionable.

Here’s the video of Gibbs’ thirteen o’clock moment, and the transcript:

LOTHIAN [CNN]: When the President met with King Abdullah, there was something that took place which I believe the White House explained was just the president being taller than the king. We took a look at the video, and it does appear that the president actually bowed to King Abdullah. Did he bow or didn't he?
GIBBS: No, I think he bent over with both, to shake -- with both hands to shake his hand, so I don't--
LOTHIAN: -- one hand --
GIBBS: Well I...(laughter)
LOTHIAN: Did he bow or didn't he?
GIBBS: No. But I think this meeting was like a week ago, right?
LOTHIAN: That's right but this is something a lot of people are talking about today.
GIBBS: I can only imagine it is of great cause and concern for many people struggling with the economy.
I recall watching Zeigler’s moment on TV. He spoke his moment somewhat sheepishly.  In response, the press corps was more stunned than amused, as some appeared to have been amused by Gibbs’ statement.

In 1973, the White House press corps was a school of circling sharks that smelled blood in the water. They were void of humor.

In comparison to Zeigler, Gibbs’ demeanor was riddled with what has become his signature arrogance and sarcasm. A bit of a smart aleck, he will not wear well, even before a press corps on his side.  When confronted with arrogance, the arrogant often repel.

They will not immediately turn ugly on Gibbs, since many of them helped his boss get elected. But it’s still foolish and dangerous for him to treat them as though they watched the video of the Obama Bow with all the visual observance skills of, say, Helen Keller.  


White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs recently completed a trifecta of famous press secretaries who humiliated themselves before the world.

On April 17, 1973, Nixon Press Secretary Ron Ziegler gained near immortal status when, in the midst of the Watergate scandal, he said, “This is the operative statement. The others are inoperative.”

Sadly, a man’s life is now widely remembered by one word -- “inoperative.”

Saddam Hussein’s Press Secretary, Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf, AKA “Baghdad Bob,” is remembered by multiple sayings as U.S. troops entered Baghdad, including, “"I triple guarantee you, there are no American soldiers in Baghdad."

In the midst of the deadly serious business that is war, Baghdad Bob brought comic relief.

Now, Robert Gibbs has become the third Press Secretary in modern history to suddenly become like the clock that struck thirteen, thus rendering all subsequent time announcements highly questionable.

Here’s the video of Gibbs’ thirteen o’clock moment, and the transcript:

LOTHIAN [CNN]: When the President met with King Abdullah, there was something that took place which I believe the White House explained was just the president being taller than the king. We took a look at the video, and it does appear that the president actually bowed to King Abdullah. Did he bow or didn't he?
GIBBS: No, I think he bent over with both, to shake -- with both hands to shake his hand, so I don't--
LOTHIAN: -- one hand --
GIBBS: Well I...(laughter)
LOTHIAN: Did he bow or didn't he?
GIBBS: No. But I think this meeting was like a week ago, right?
LOTHIAN: That's right but this is something a lot of people are talking about today.
GIBBS: I can only imagine it is of great cause and concern for many people struggling with the economy.
I recall watching Zeigler’s moment on TV. He spoke his moment somewhat sheepishly.  In response, the press corps was more stunned than amused, as some appeared to have been amused by Gibbs’ statement.

In 1973, the White House press corps was a school of circling sharks that smelled blood in the water. They were void of humor.

In comparison to Zeigler, Gibbs’ demeanor was riddled with what has become his signature arrogance and sarcasm. A bit of a smart aleck, he will not wear well, even before a press corps on his side.  When confronted with arrogance, the arrogant often repel.

They will not immediately turn ugly on Gibbs, since many of them helped his boss get elected. But it’s still foolish and dangerous for him to treat them as though they watched the video of the Obama Bow with all the visual observance skills of, say, Helen Keller.