Daley Dismisses Report That He Forced Gibbs Out (EXCLUSIVE, UPDATED)
MIAMI -- The timing of President Barack Obama's appointment of Bill Daley as his new chief of staff, coming less than a day after Robert Gibbs announced his departure from his role as press secretary, has prompted reports that Daley forced Gibbs out -- an allegation the outgoing White House spokesman called "crazy" Friday.
[UPDATE -- 11:35 a.m.: In a follow-up email to The Huffington Post, Gibbs provided a statement from Daley batting down the reports that he forced the press secretary out.
"Robert's name never, ever came up once in any discussion I had with the President or staff about me coming to the White House," the statement reads. "In my view, he has done a great job as Press Secretary for President Obama and I look forward to working with him as he continues to help provide advice to the President and our team over the next two years."]
"I made my decision and told the President before he left for Hawaii," Gibbs told The Huffington Post in an email. "He picked Bill Daley yesterday. It [the story] is crazy."
The shakeup of any political staff, let alone that of a White House, is bound to cause speculation about motives, personality clashes, infighting and the like. But those rumors aren't always well-founded.
"Obama mouthpiece Robert Gibbs was forced out by new henchman William Daley," blared a headline from the Telegraph on Friday morning.
Citing reports from CNN's John King, the story goes on to note that Gibbs "wanted to be a presidential counselor" but Daley "believed that too many cooks would spoil the presidential broth."
All of which makes for some intriguing drama, but that drama is rather thinly sourced. Gibbs isn't quoted in the piece, and when asked whether the rumors are true, he made a fairly convincing case that he and Daley couldn't have had the purported power struggle, given the timing of their respective moves.
While it had been reported that Gibbs was contemplating leaving the administration as far back as Obama's trip to Hawaii, it was not widely known when he made his final decision and told the president.