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

If your name’s not Rush or Rick…: There’s no love lost between the Obama team and NYT’s Paul Krugman, who has used his clout as a Nobel laureate to voice consistent criticism of the administration’s economic policies. But rather than engage in another one-on-one with a critic, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs replied to a question about Krugman’s latest condemning column with the opening line “Without responding directly to that…”

Get Out Those Beads!: NYT’s Sheryl Stolberg questioned the silence on Mikhail Gorbachev’s visit to the White House Friday, and Gibbs clarified that while the meeting was only on the vice president’s schedule, Obama “tends to roam around the larger house, and sometimes walks into meetings that weren’t previously on his schedule.” Reporters suggested he roam into the briefing room. “I think we did that once,” Gibbs said, in reference to the president’s impromptu evening visit to the press bullpen. “And it seemed like Bourbon Street on Fat Tuesday.” (For those keeping score on the serious matters: Gibbs noted that the two discussed reduction of nuclear arsenals and nuclear proliferation, as well as energy and “a whole host of ideas” of mutual concern.)

Under Pressure: When AURN’s April Ryan asked a follow-up about the president’s plans for tomorrow night’s news conference, Gibbs dodged a little, saying that whether the president made news would depend on “the many important and impressive reporters assembled,” to which the intrepid reporter chastised, “You know what I’m talking about. I’m talking about an opening statement. Stop being flip.” No punches thrown; both had a good laugh and Gibbs admitted to not yet having read the full opening statement for tomorrow’s presidential showdown with the press. Phew.


The Post-Campaign Campaign: Gibbs reported that the grassroots wing of the Obama team effectively organized “about a million” door-knockers this past weekend to spread the president’s message on the oft-repeated trifecta of energy, education, and healthcare. Asked what the goal for the project had been, the press secretary cleverly noted, “I would say if we knocked on a million doors, then our goal is probably 750,000.”

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