Robert Gibbs probably possesses many qualities that have allowed him to succeed in the communications field, including more than two years behind the podium as the White House press secretary. But one of them, a mastery of delivering a sound bite, was on display today at the Council of Public Relations Firms' annual Critical Issues forum.
In describing his last two weeks in the White House briefing room last February, Gibbs recalled it coincided with the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule in Egypt.
My last two weeks at the White House were Mubarak's last two weeks. My last Friday was his last Friday.
There were other choice tidbits from that time frame in reference to the Arab Spring.
We had to be very careful about what we said and when we said it... That same social unrest is making its way here.
No one is immune to society's frustrations and doubts... To survive and thrive in this new environment takes new thinking and tactics.
I don't know what they want... They're a lot like the Tea Party. They're [both] mad at large institutions.
Gibbs also recalled the Deepwater Horizon oil spill as one of his most trying moments on the podium, saying there were "100 things I wished I'd done differently," particularly had he known it would take three months to stop the BP spill from spewing into the Gulf of Mexico. He noted the conversation for BP didn't turn around until they stepped back from a "top-down approach." (I'm not sure it ever turned around, but point taken.)
Gibbs on White House life:
Anyone who lives in the White House lives in a bubble. (President Obama tries to thwart that problem by reading and answering letters from the public, Gibbs added.)
In talking about his role as an adviser to President Obama, he described the Obama campaign's embrace of technology in 2008 and said the social media department will be one of the largest departments of the 2012 re-election campaign. He then shot off another succinct, easily quotable phrase: "2012 will be the Twitter election."