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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Thou Shall Not Mock the Chosen One

Gibbs Takes Off Gloves to Challenge Reporters, Hosts Who Cross Obama
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has singled out media personalities Jim Cramer, Rush Limbaugh and Rick Santelli in the course of less than two weeks. Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Jim Cramer. Rush Limbaugh. Rick Santelli. 

What do they all have in common? Most likely, none of them is getting invited to the White House Christmas party. 

All three media personalities have been singled out by President Obama's press shop in the course of less than two weeks. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, in doing so, has shown an unusual willingness to spar with cable and radio hosts who take shots at his boss. 

The rebuttals have ranged from playful ribbing to disdainful scolding. 

Talk show host Limbaugh has drawn the most ire from the White House. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel called him out on Sunday for saying he wants Obama to fail, after Obama told Republican lawmakers not to listen to people like Limbaugh several weeks ago. 

Gibbs followed up Monday, calling on conservative pundits to challenge Limbaugh on air. 

"Do they want to see the president's economic agenda fail? You know, I bet there are a number of guests on television throughout the day and maybe into tomorrow who could let America know whether -- whether they agree with what Rush Limbaugh said this weekend," Gibbs said. But then he took a shot at those who applauded Limbaugh during his address to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington over the weekend. 

"You know, I'd like to think, and I think most people would like to think, that we can put aside our differences and get things done for the American people. We'll say, in watching a few cable clips of Mr. Limbaugh's speech, his notion of presidential failures seemed to be quite popular in the room in which he spoke," he said. 

Gibbs repeated his call for Republicans to speak up on whether they agree with Limbaugh Tuesday. Limbaugh has said that while he wants Obama to fail, he doesn't want the economy to fail. 

Donald Rieck, executive director at the Center for Media and Public Affairs, said the Obama team, which studies have shown received far more favorable press treatment during the campaign than its rivals, is apparently having trouble acclimating to a more critical press post-Inauguration Day. 

"If they're going to do this, to jump like that every time someone says something provocative about them, it's going to be an awfully long tenure for Gibbs, because there's a way to let this roll off your shoulders," he said. 

Gibbs didn't stop at Limbaugh, who Democrats eagerly claim speaks for the Republican Party in the absence of a clear leader. (House Republican Leader John Boehner asserted Wednesday that the White House was intentionally elevating Limbaugh to distract from their budget.)

On Tuesday, Gibbs also responded to a question about CNBC host Jim Cramer's claim that Obama's economic policies represent the "greatest wealth destruction" by a president. 

"If you turn on a certain program, it's geared to a very small audience, no offense to my good friends or friend at CNBC," Gibbs said. 

Gibbs tried to hedge at first, saying, "this is where I have to probably be careful," and "I'm not entirely sure what he's pointing to," and "I'm going to get in a lot of trouble." 

That was almost certainly a reference to the last time he went after a CNBC reporter -- Rick Santelli. 

In late February, Gibbs responded at length to Santelli's on-air rant at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, in which he stirred up traders by shouting that the government was promoting "bad behavior" with its mortgage rescue plan. "This is America," he said. "How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor's mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can't pay their bills?" 

Asked about the segment, Gibbs said: "I'm not entirely sure where Mr. Santelli lives or in what house he lives. But the America people are struggling every day to meet their mortgage." 

He said Santelli argued "quite wrongly" that the plan was ineffective and concluded by inviting him to the White House for a cup of "decaf" coffee.

"I would encourage him to read the president's plan and understand that it will help millions of people, many of whom he knows. I would be more than happy to have him come here and read it. I'd be happy to buy him a cup of coffee -- decaf." 

The press in the room laughed at the quip, but Santelli later said he felt personally threatened by the White House. 

Still, Gibbs said Tuesday he did not actually get in a "lot of trouble" for singling out Santelli. 

"There are very few days that I've had more fun," Gibbs said.



My Thoughts
How dare any go against "the chosen one". Limbaugh isn't the leader of the GOP. He isn't in government anywhere. He has not run at any time for office. He's just an easy target for the left. Rush is their own personal boogeyman.

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