The Obama White House is trying to remain focused on the critical midterm elections now just one month away. But major changes in President Obama’s inner circle – including the departure of chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and several key economic advisers – have focused attention on who is staying and who might join the West Wing exodus.
On Saturday, Politico posted a story saying Mr. Gibbs, a close adviser and confidant of the president’s, was being considered as a potential chairman of the Democratic National Committee to help with the president’s 2012 election bid. The current DNC chair, former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, would move to a cabinet position, the story said.
Seeking to quash the story, Gibbs tweeted on Saturday: “I have not had any conversations about the future – it is a great honor to have the job I have right now and I am very happy doing it.”
At Monday’s White House briefing, Gibbs was questioned closely about his plans. In response to a query from April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks, Gibbs said, “April, I do love this job. I haven’t had any conversations about the future. I don’t intend to have any conversations about the future in the next few weeks. … Everyone who works here is focused on the thousands and thousands of things on their to-do list that they have to do every day.”
Gibbs sought to shut off questions about himself, saying, “I am just going to try to give the information on a whole host of issues I know are far more important than me."
But some reporters keyed on the press secretary's use of the phrase “in the next few weeks” when denying he had plans to discuss his future with the president. Veteran CBS Radio reporter Mark Knoller tweeted that it was a “non-denial denial.”
Potentials successors for Gibbs if he did move to another admistration post include his deputy, Bill Burton, and former Time magazine correspondent Jay Carney, who is now communications director for Vice President Biden.