January 22nd, 2009
05:41 PM ET
7 years ago

Malveaux: Presidential plaudits for Gibbs' podium debut

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/22/art.gibbspt0122.gi.jpg caption="Malveaux: President Obama personally congratulated White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs after his first official press conference Thursday."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - It was a funny moment in the White House Press Office. And a rare one. I was in the White House press office when in walks President Obama. It happened so fast, it even startled his aides.

President Obama walked in to see his Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. An aide, looking down at her papers, didn't notice who was whisking by her, and said Gibbs was on a conference call. "I'm the President. I can do anything I want," joked Obama, proceeding directly into Gibbs’ office with a single photographer in tow as staffers laughed.

I overheard the president say "congratulations, congratulations man." Today, after all, had marked his press secretary's first official briefing with the White House press corps. Then, just as soon as he'd come in, the President moved off in the direction of the Oval Office - too fast for even a shouted impromptu question.

Moments later, I left the White House through the front gate and ran into the president's sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, with her young daughter. She greeted me warmly and said "you remember my daughter." A couple of passersby began to assemble with cameras. When one recognized her as the President's sister, we said goodbye.


Filed under: President Obama • Robert Gibbs
soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. reggie

    Obama is so arrogant and cocky. I guess I would be too, if I got elected to the highest office in the land, without having any experience or a track record....

    January 22, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  2. Jan

    "I'm the President. I can do anything I want," joked Obama,
    ----------–

    Sorry, "Mr. President" - that is NOT funny !!!!!!!!!

    January 22, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  3. EBC

    THAT'S WHAT I'm talking about!!

    A President of the PEOPLE. President Obama is truly setting an example to all Americans. He's a "people president" and he's NOT going to be stand-offish or so far removed from the world that he becomes clueless as to what's going on in his Administration.

    I'm so PROUD of President Obama, he's proving to be a true gentleman with honor and integrity.

    I'M SO PROUD OF MY PRESIDENT, SO VERY PROUD. PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS RESTORED THE WHTIE HOUSE TO IT HONORABLE STATURE.

    January 22, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  4. Matt

    haha...that poor aide must've been mortified

    January 22, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  5. Rick

    Gibbs is the south end of a north bound horse.

    January 22, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  6. Mobius

    My god. It's like Washington DC meets The Beverly Hillbillies. Anyone ELSE living there we ought to know about?

    January 22, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  7. Diana Ewing NJ

    Robert Gibbs looked very uncomfortable at his first conference... glad the President stopped by to lighten things up.... Gibbs is a good man

    January 22, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  8. chelle

    Is it just me, or is there a certain warmth and humour to everything and everyone around the Obamas????

    January 22, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  9. clifford

    Does Obamas press secretary look like a carnival barker or what???

    January 22, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  10. MartaK

    Just what ARE they doing with the 300,000 or so job applications they got in response to their open cattle call on the Change.gov web site? My guess is they are going to use them as pee-pee pads for the new puppy when they finally choose one! If anyone who submitted their application on his web site gets a job, I want the media to cover that (because I don't think they ever intended to hire anyone from that pool of applicants. It was just a "feel-good" move to keep the supporters thinking they were more than just wallets and door-knockers. Those getting jobs are Obama insiders and career politicos).

    January 22, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  11. Jason Thomas

    I don't understand this story. The President was spotted at the White House, working. And.....?

    January 22, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  12. Mike

    How do those balls taste?

    January 22, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  13. Pam

    "I'm the President. I can do anything I want," joked Obama
    --------–
    THAT, Mr. Obama - is NOT funny !!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 22, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  14. shoegazer

    Looks like he just asked the press corp to pull his finger.

    January 22, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  15. Betsy

    Wow, Suzanne! And then what did you do????

    January 22, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  16. Liz

    Did the "main-stream" media actually ask him any real questions?

    January 22, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  17. Debby

    How about the blunder with Biden today and swearing in those senior advisors. Talk about a senior moment hahaha.

    January 22, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  18. Ernie in LA

    You should watch your words Mr. Obama. We are the people and we can vote for anyone we want.

    January 22, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  19. yellow dog democrat

    Everybody – loosen up!!

    Mike are you trying to be funny or do you just have "bad taste!!"??

    January 22, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  20. Amber

    Pam – too soon? too soon? 😉

    January 22, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  21. Katy

    Pam,
    All depend the way he spoke!

    January 22, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  22. AJ Moxom

    Enough with the un-nessasary redo of the Presidential oath of office. A picture was taken, witnesses were present, and an announcement was made. It seems the video based media, especially CNN are the only ones upset by this. Most likely you will have plenty of opportunities in the coming days to satisfy your rating suits.

    Has it occurred to you that the President may have downplayed this as a kind jester to the Supreme Court Justice who mixed the words? Perhaps his good manners could be followed by the CNN hosts and quit beating this dead horse.

    January 22, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  23. Millie

    Just what ARE they doing with the 300,000 or so job applications they got in response to their open cattle call on the Change.gov web site? My guess is they are going to use them as pee-pee pads for the new puppy when they finally choose one! If anyone who submitted their application on his web site gets a job, I want the media to cover that (because I don't think they ever intended to hire anyone from that pool of applicants. It was just a "feel-good" move to keep the supporters thinking they were more than just wallets and door-knockers. Those getting jobs are Obama insiders and career politicos).

    January 22, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  24. Peter

    sounds like they are having alot of fun.........Wish them well!

    January 22, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  25. Simmy

    Pam, I know it's a joke. Don't go on the deep end about it – really!

    Ed Henry, how much more open can the President be? I can clearly see CJ Roberts and Pres. Obama. He is taking the oath again. It's secretive because you weren't there? Get over your GOP self.

    January 22, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
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