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Posts Tagged ‘Robert Gibbs’

The FishbowlDC Interview With The Frenchman, Tangi Quemener

Tangi.jpg Say hello to Tangi Quemener, White House correspondent for Agence France-Presse. Quemener hails from Brest, France (that’s right, that’s the name of the north-western French town in Brittany where he grew up). He studied journalism in Paris. He has been working for Agence France-Presse since 1999 – he worked on the international desk in Paris, on the Middle East desk in Cyprus and as a West Coast correspondent in L.A.

Quemener was a delight to chat with by phone from Martha’s Vineyard Thursday afternoon, where he’s covering President Obama’s summer vacation. He does not appear to fall under any stereotypical French attributes. He’s self-deprecating and self-conscious about his English and respectful of his American colleagues in the White House Press Corps. “I’m the newcomer,” he says, explaining that the wire service assigned him to the White House beat in December. He told me, “My English is far from perfect, so please feel free to correct any spelling or grammar horror that might have gone undetected.”

He does not refer to French Fries as Freedom Fries. “The French Fries are not really French,” he says. “They are from Belgium.” But he isn’t taken aback by the ongoing jokes against the French. “The French are not easily offended,” he says. Oh, and the photograph? His choice. He wanted to be an international man of mystery, and I’m not one to argue with a Frenchman.

If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? Full Sail beer from Hood River, Oregon. Or Diet Coke, the White House Correspondent’s drug of choice.

How often do you Google yourself? Once a month. But I confess that I check my byline on the AFP wire more often than that.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)? You just made me realize how lucky I’ve been so far. I really can’t remember any serious rift with my gentle and beloved brass. I’ve never fallen [in with] a prick editor. Blame it on the 35 hour workweek, the 61 day a year paid vacation or even our amazing health care system. That’s the French way but we work a lot. Every American worker is green with angry or red with rage.

Who is your favorite working journalist? Gail Collins makes my Metro ride a bliss. I have a great deal of respect for my AFP colleagues working in war or disaster zones. But my all time favorite journo is Frenchman Joseph Kessel (1898-1979), a real adventurer and a master wordsmith.

Do you have a favorite word? Two: Ice cream.

Who would you rather have dinner with – First Lady Michelle Obama or Bestselling Author and former V.P. candidate Sarah Palin? Sarah Palin would give me a hard time as I’m French, thus a cheese monkey girlie man cowardly palling around with communist treehuggers. But I’d rather have a charbroiled moose burger than sauteed broccoli. Decisions, decisions.

What’s the name of your cell phone ring? My cell is in vibrating mode only. Robert Gibbs doesn’t like interference when he’s briefing.

When did you last cry and why? I shed a tear this summer after receiving a pic of my young sons that my wife e-mailed from their long French vacation. Corny but true.

What word do you routinely misspell? This summer, its has been “flottille.” It’s flotilla in French.

What swear word do you use most often? “Bordel de merde.” Need a translation?

What word or phrase do you overuse? In English, “Basically.” Must be unnerving to others but can’t help it.

What TV show do you have to watch? BBC’s “Top Gear.” I’m a car freak.? Plus it’s hilarious and beautifully shot.

Where do you shop most often for your clothes? I usually go on a rampage every year in a shopping outlet like in Delaware or Virginia. You must know [NPR’s} Ari Shapiro. He’s always very well dressed. I’m not like that at all.

Who do you prefer for daytime talk, Dr. Phil, Ellen, Oprah, Tyra or the women of The View? I have to monitor cable news all day but I’d rather watch Ellen, who has a great sense of humor. The others actually scare me. I’m really scared of Oprah, the way she hands over gifts and cars, maybe she’s too powerful, and Dr. Phil is even worse.

Pick one: Leno, Letterman or Conan? None of the above, really. I’m more of a Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert aficionado.

If you were trapped on a deserted island, which public official would you want to be trapped with and why? Thad Allen seems to have a few boats handy. And his mustache is has soothing powers.

Find out what Quemener’s first journalism teacher wrote about him after the jump…

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White House Soup of the Day

As reported by MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown,” host Chuck Todd informs that the White House Soup of the Day is: Corn and Crab chowder.

As usual, he slams the soup, saying it lacks diversity, implying that the Friday soup has been this choice before. “I guess you feel like well, you’re not going to diversify things for [Regional Comm Director] Amy Brundage, [White House Press Secretary] Robert Gibbs is working there today…you think you’d step it up and see what he wants today?”


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Quote(s) of the Day


Was Snooki Invited?

“Nothing like my dad making me and 3 of my girlfriends hike in the river today… :-) ” — The Daily Beast columnist Meghan McCain, daughter to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), in a weekend tweet.

Chuck Todd has unpleasant fan

“@dpleasant how about watching before tweeting off a criticism.”
- NBC’s Chuck Todd firing back at an unpleasant (despite the deceptive name) tweeter over the weekend.

TV contributor tortured in sea
of “Eat Pray Love” characters

“Oh, man…wife & I at EatPrayLove. It looks like a casting call for the Liz Gilbert role.” – CNBC Contributor Tony Fratto over the weekend on Twitter. Fratto is also managing director of Hamilton Strategies, and founder of


Reporter goes on jean-buying spree

“Took less than three hours to find jeans.”
- AP national politics scribe Phil Elliott in a pressing weekend tweet.

WH Press Corps ‘All Geeked Up’

“…Part of the reason, Howie, why this electrified the White House press corps so much is because Robert and Obama are so close, that when Robert does speak out of school, it’s like you’re getting the unvarnished opinion of the president. So that’s why we were all geeked up about it last week.” – The Washington Examiner’s White House correspondent Julie Mason on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” Sunday opining on fallout to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs‘s remarks on the Professional Left last week.


Most Disgusting Item You Will Read Today


Liberal activist Cindy Sheehan has challenged White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs to something called a “pee-off.” This comes on the heels of Gibbs telling The Hill‘s Sam Youngman that some on the left could use a “drug test.” Sheehan’s challenge brings new meaning to the phrase, “pissing match.” She announced her “news” in a statement.

“I will put my urine up against Gibbs any day, and in fact, will travel to Washington to give him a fresh and warm sample,” reports TWT‘s Jennifer Harper in the Inside the Beltway feature. “I actually think supporters of Obama should be tested for ‘Hopium’ in their urine, myself,” she continues. “Since Gibbs is a liar and a jerk, I will challenge him to a pee-off.”

Read the full story here.

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Quote(s) of the Day


A slide, what fun!

“Is there a giant inflatable slide on the House floor I’m unaware of?”
- Bloomberg TV’s Lizzie O’Leary on Twitter Tuesday on the suspenseful events of the House floor Tuesday, namely Rep. Charlie Rangel’s (D-N.Y.) unanticipated floor speech.

Not tweeting while vacationing proves fruitful

“Question: why all the new followers when I’m on vacation and not tweeting? Is less more?” – Mother Jones D.C. Bureau Chief and Politics Daily columnist David Corn on Twitter Tuesday. Update: Corn is vacationing on Cape Cod.

Reporter is frank with Ed

“Frankly, it’s people like you, Ed.”
The Hill‘s White House correspondent Sam Youngman on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” after the host questioned him on what kind of liberals White House Press Sec. Robert Gibbs complained about in a Youngman published Tuesday. Schultz didn’t appear fazed; he thanked Youngman for being on the show.

Oh, Gibbs had sniffles?

“Gibbs has a sore throat ‘and the sniffles’ Burton says, explaining absence from briefing.” – HuffPost‘s Sam Stein on Twitter Tuesday revealing why Deputy Press Sec. Bill Burton filled in for Gibbs.

Journo bashes poor headlines

“By the way: can we not see headlines like ‘primaries test the mood of voters.’ Um yes. That’s what primaries do.”
- The Atlantic‘s Marc Ambinder on Twitter Tuesday.


Gibbs Welcomes Journos to New Seats, Savannah Caught E-mailing


White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs reacted to journalists assuming their brand new seats today, as determined by the White House Correspondents’ Association on Sunday. Big changes included AP moving front-and-center and Fox News getting a front row seat, while TWT and U.S. News & World Report were both moved back. Not surprisingly, TWT was none too pleased about the move.

C-SPAN cameras captured it all, including MSNBC’s White House correspondent Savannah Guthrie caught e-mailing.

GIBBS: Wow, look at this, Sunday best. Everyone in their new seats. Church is full today, good to see.

And later at 28:05…

GIBBS: Any interesting e-mails, Ms. Guthrie?
GUTHRIE: Oh, sorry. [LAUGHTER] Gosh, that was embarrassing. On taxes…
GIBBS: I wasn’t asking you to read them [LAUGHTER]. [INAUDIBLE] Bill, stop e-mailing Savannah. [LAUGHTER]

Watch the C-SPAN footage here.

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Quote(s) of the Day

Reporter senses ghosts

“I’ve said it before: As much as I luv the gig at the WH, there’s nothin like hanging out at the US Capitol at nite. You can feel the ghosts.” – NY Daily News‘s White House reporter Ken Bazinet, in a Thursday tweet. Bazinet goes by the Twitter handle, bazmaniandevil.

Scribe boasts Barney in the House

“Barney Frank, baby.”
- NBC’s Chief White House Correspondent and Political Director Chuck Todd, who hosts MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown,” on “Morning Joe” Friday morning playing up this morning’s guest on “The Daily Rundown.”

Ellen out. Gibbs in. (Not really)

“I’m leaving after a year and a half to be a judge on American Idol.”
- White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Friday morning’s “Morning Joe” on his future plans which come on the heels of Ellen Degeneres abruptly leaving “American Idol” after one season. (Of course, Gibbs is joking.)


Gibbs Encourages Full Sneeze During Presser

baby sneeze.jpg

During a White House press conference Tuesday, there was a brief interruption when a CBS cameraman had a near-sneeze moment that momentarily shifted the train of thought of White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. As a reporter (reportedly AP’s Jennifer Loven) posed a question, the CBS cameraman kneeling down next to CNN’s Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry began his sneeze.

Reporter: You can’t really call that a broad energy bill; it’s pretty narrow.

MR. GIBBS: I’m not suggesting that. I don’t think anybody in the meeting did. I think what — again, what I’m suggesting is what — if you need to sneeze, go ahead. (Laughter.)

Reporter: Do it the right way.

MR. GIBBS: I don’t want to be responsible for not letting you sneeze, for goodness’ sakes. (Laughter.) Sorry. Yes, I was going to say. No, but, again, you’ve got one bill that passes the House; you’ll have a different bill that passes the Senate. And then there will be an opportunity to reconcile those two differing bills.

In the end, the cameraman suppressed his sneeze.


Press and Comm Staff Pull Top WH Salaries

The 2010 Annual Report to Congress on White House Staff was released today and we were interested to see that the communications and press folks ranked among the highest paid. Along with White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, press secretary Robert Gibbs, speechwriter Jon Favreau and communications director Dan Pfieffer all pulled in the highest salary of $172,200.00. Deputy press secretary Bill Burton gets $113,000.00 and deputy communications director Jen Psaki makes $150,000.00.

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Quote(s) of the Day


Good home cooking with a plug for turkey necks

“I’m sitting home boiling some left over shrimp from my last visit home. Got some onions, potatoes, corn & turkey necks. Plus something cold.” — Democratic Pundit and CNN Contributor Donna Brazile in a Wednesday tweet.

Cable TV gets slapped down

“Q: is O concerned Jon Stewart & @keitholbermann trashed speech? G: No. Cable tv is “not where all real Americans live.” Ouch!” –Mother Jones Bureau Chief David Corn tweets about a question to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs in a White House presser.

Hashtag criticism

“If you gratuitously use a hashtag instead of a normal English word in the middle of a sentence, you officially suck.”
–TNR Blogger Patrick Ruffini in a Wednesday tweet. Ruffini also runs Engage, LLC, a political media firm.