Crawling Toward Trip Time: With many WH press corps heavies busy packing their bags for the POTUS trip to the Middle East and Europe, the Brady briefing room saw a lot of B-team faces today. General pace was slow, a good indicator being that Press Secretary Robert Gibbs used the “won’t get ahead of…” sidestep for four questions: human rights in the president’s Cairo speech, whether the Obama team will push for the “public option” on healthcare, a potential request for the Australian government to take Gitmo detainees, and his own commencement speech this afternoon.
Hey-O!: On the last of the “won’t get ahead of…”s, Congress Daily’s George Condon jabbed, “I knew there was some reason they wanted you” as Gibbs disclosed his cousin will be graduating from Winston Churchill High. Appropriately high-school-ish “oooohhhh”s reverberated through the (class)room in reaction to the slam.
All A-Twitter in Cairo?: After Gibbs had mentioned that the WH is looking to disseminate the big Cairo speech through social networking sites, NYT‘s Helene Cooper asked if that included Twitter. “That would be awkward, wouldn’t it?” he said, adding (perhaps sadly), “We can’t even get that on the computers here.”
Hi, My Name is Journalist: In another of those role-defining exchanges between podium and press, Gibbs again pushed back on NPR’s Mara Liasson on the issue of prospective governmental support for a GM business decision that might be profitable but push jobs overseas. Gibbs complained that typically half of the questions on the issue are of one “good golly” extreme, while the other half takes the opposite approach. “Well that’s the whole point–because they’re conflicting pressures,” Liasson clarified.