After getting a bit of hard questioning from reporters, newly minted Interior Secretary Ken Salazar decided to join the opposition.
Salazar took about five minutes worth of questions from the podium of the White House briefing room on Wednesday, ranging from corruption and ethical lapses at the Department of Interior to the future of environmental policy and drilling activity. Upon leaving his perch, he turned to press secretary Robert Gibbs and said that now it was his turn for the "hot seat." Only, Salazar wanted to see how a professional handled the press inquiries. So he plopped himself down in an open seat in the front row of the briefing room -- the one normally held by Helen Thomas -- and promptly raised his right hand, indicating that he had a question for Gibbs.
The press corps chuckled a bit. And Gibbs played along, insisting he would not be taking questions from the Interior Secretary. Nevertheless, it appears that Salazar is intent on staying in his seat for the full briefing. He remains intensely focused on Gibbs.
UPDATE: Twenty-five minutes in, Salazar once again became the center of focus when, after Chip Reid said he will yield the floor to the Interior Secretary, Gibbs chimes in: "He is going to ask me a softball to save me.'
LATE UPDATE: Nearly forty-five minutes in, Salazar gets up and leaves.