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FishPoolDC: Our Insider’s Notes from Today’s Press Briefing

We Want to Play, Too: Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced that the third White House-based Obama news conference is scheduled for next Wednesday at 8 p.m., following the POTUS trip to St. Louis. When reporters jabbed that this was a good way for the administration to highlight the 100-day mark that the Obama team has derided, Gibbs counter-punched that “there will be a whole lot of cards for you to pick up where you can inform your loved ones what you’ve been doing for the last hundred days, because you haven’t seen them.” Later, Gibbs would note that the 100-day milestone has long been entrenched in presidential evaluation: “We get that. We’re playing along.”

Hyper on the Hypotheticals: Fox’s Major Garrett, who pummeled the podium today with so many questions that it drew audible groans from his classmates, first asked Gibbs whether the White House would collaborate with Congress on a commission to investigate those involved in implementing the controversial interrogation methods. Gibbs pulled a classic press secretary play by rejecting hypotheticals, until it was noted that the president himself started it. “He’s the president,” Gibbs said. “If he wants to engage in hypotheticals, that’s … his business.” Major (the one-name press celeb) countered that Obama often refused to engage in hypotheticals, to which Gibbs promised it would not happen for the remainder of the administration. Start your countdowns!

I Did It My Way: When Jon Ward of Wash Times returned to the commission topic with the observation that the White House was “trying to have it both ways” by showing a hands-off approach but articulating how such a panel should be formed, an irritated Gibbs said he’d clarify with POTUS what was meant by “I’m not proposing this.” Pressed on the potential contradiction, Gibbs used the humor shield by saying the hypothetical was meant “to scratch Major’s itch on hypotheticals.” Friendly chaos ensued; Major proclaimed, “I don’t have an itch, Robert, and if the president knows about it I’d be very surprised.”
“I’ll leave that between you and your itch,” Gibbs replied, before jokingly demanding that the steno strike the exchange from the record. This prompted a zealous cry of “Censorship!” from everybody’s favorite Fairness Doctrine opponent and bizarre-question-asker, radio personality Les Kinsolving.

Get This Guy in the Science Fair: On the issue of the president’s bi-partisan pledge, Gibbs was asked whether the GOP could be brought along or if it should “just be defeated.” The query brought considerable laughter, especially as the question used the phrase “bipartisan project,” which fueled a Gibbsian comparison to elementary school science projects. “Go figure the conversation in this town is sort of held on the edges,” Gibbs added, pulling his popular populist card.

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