By Tess Koman
Union College got an insider’s perspective on what our nation should expect politically in the next few years from former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Monday, April 25th. The event was sponsored by Speaker’s Forum and was open to the entire campus community.
The representative spoke in a Press Conference and gave a speech in Memorial Chapel entitled “Inside Washington: What’s Next?” Mr. Gibbs served as Press Secretary under the Obama Campaign until resigning from the position this past January. He announced upon his resignation that his focus from then on would be to help President Obama as an outside advisor for the upcoming 2012 campaign.
“The experience I’ve had has certainly had its ups and downs,” Gibbs commenced. When he became Press Secretary in 2008,
“We were losing 700,000 jobs a month, banks were closing, and so many people were facing bankruptcy. Needless to say, the state of affairs was a mess. And that’s not even mentioning the war in Iraq.” While there has been improvement in these areas, Gibbs acknowledges that it has been a rocky journey. “People will be able to judge his track record. It is both a blessing and a curse.”
That being said, Gibbs says that the President has “remained a remarkably unchanged man.” His personal relationship with Obama has remained consistent throughout his presidency and he explains that when they meet, the two men discuss “politics, sports, and our kids.” Reflecting on the experience, Gibbs explains, “At the very end of my tenure, I realized how special my purpose was: I had not just gotten to serve as representative of a President but as the spokesperson of an entire country.”
As an outside advisor, Gibbs’ role in the 2012 election campaign will be drastically different than his previous position. He will travel with Obama around the country targeting as many voters individually as possible and underscored that technology will play an integral role in this campaign.
“Over 60 million Americans own smartphones. This allows us to reduce the election of hundreds of millions of people and make it a one on one relationship,” he said.
Gibbs does not seem impressed with the competition thus far. In fact, he marvels at the fact that the Republican party has not yet gotten “involved with the day-to-day campaign.” He believes that Mitt Romney is “the frontrunner in a party that tends to nominate frontrunners,” but that Mike Huckabee would most likely be President Obama’s biggest competition in 2012 if he decides run. As for the rumors about Donald Trump’s candidacy? Gibbs shakes his head, “ the American people are smarter than the campaign he’s offering.”