(CNN) - The White House is tamping down recent statements from Press Secretary Robert Gibbs that targeted the "professional left" for not giving President Obama a sufficient amount of credit for the administration's accomplishments.
"I think what Gibbs was doing was having one conversation with one reporter and in response to questions about frustrations he answered honestly and it shouldn't be read anything more than that," spokesman Bill Burton told reporters Tuesday.
But Burton, who was filling in last minute for Gibbs at Tuesday's White House briefing, didn't deny the president himself grows frustrated at times with criticisms from liberal commentators.
"Is there ever some frustration from anyone who works in this building about the way it's being covered, sure" said Burton when asked if Gibbs' sentiments reflected those of the president. "Our focus today isn't one article in a Hill publication."
Burton's comments come a day after Gibbs expressed frustration over criticisms from some on the left that the president is all too-willing to compromise with Republicans on key pieces of legislation
"I hear these people saying he's like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested," Gibbs told The Hill newspaper. "I mean, it's crazy."
"They wouldn't be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president," Gibbs added, referencing the liberal Ohio congressman who ran for president in 2004 and 2008.
Burton called Gibbs' "drug tested" comments a "light joke" and said Gibbs meant the "professional left" to mean "folks who mostly live in this town and talk on cable TV."
Liberal commentators have criticized the White House for abandoning a so-called "public option" in this year's healthcare legislation and pushing for a stimulus bill significantly smaller than that which many liberal economists said was needed. The administration has also taken heat for its at-times hazy position on same-sex marriage and what is viewed as slow movement to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy."
In a statement to the liberal Huffington Post earlier Tuesday, Gibbs called his comments inartful and said he understands "the change we want hasn't come fast enough for many."
"So what I may have said inartfully, let me say this way - since coming to office in January 2009, this White House and Congress have worked tirelessly to put our country back on the right path," Gibbs says. "Most importantly, to dig our way out of a huge recession and build an economy that makes America more competitive and our middle class more secure. Some are frustrated that the change we want hasn't come fast enough for many Americans. That we all understand."
As for Gibbs' absence from the White House briefing on a day when he is a focus of attention, Burton said, "The problem is that drug makers haven't found a Sudafed strong enough for Robert Gibbs."
"He's sitting upstairs…with a sore throat and the sniffles," said Burton.