Obama: Gibbs ‘Will Continue to Shape The Dialogue’

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January 5, 2011 6:10 a.m.
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President Obama is predicting that White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, who is stepping down from his position but will also advise Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, will continue to have a presence in American politics — while also acknowledging that Gibbs needs some time off.

The New York Times reports:

President Obama, who is in the midst of making final decisions on the first major reorganization of his administration, said in a brief telephone interview on Wednesday that Mr. Gibbs would remain a close adviser and “will continue to shape the dialogue politically for many years to come.”

“We’ve been on this ride together since I won my Senate primary in 2004,” Mr. Obama said. “He’s had a six-year stretch now where basically he’s been going 24/7 with relatively modest pay. I think it’s natural for someone like Robert to want to step back for a second to reflect, retool and that, as a consequence, brings about both challenges and opportunities for the White House.”

Late Update: President Obama has released this statement to the press:

“For the last six years, Robert has been a close friend, one of my closest advisers and an effective advocate from the podium for what this administration has been doing to move America forward. I think it’s natural for him to want to step back, reflect and retool. That brings up some challenges and opportunities for the White House – but it doesn’t change the important role that Robert will continue to play on our team.”

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