White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs cracked a joke about Sarah Palin during his daily press briefing this past Tuesday. Former George W. Bush Press Secretary Dana Perino didn’t think it was funny.
Back in May, Politico analyzed the press briefings and found that the instances of laughter – as indicated by “(Laughter)” being noted in the official transcript – occurred more than 10 times per day during press secretary Robert Gibbs‘s briefings.
But the laughter has been reduced by half in recent months: In the first six months of the Obama administration, briefings produced an average of 179 laughs per month. Over the past six months, the average has dropped down to 89.
This could be due to the fact that Gibbs has had to address a number of serious issues in the last few months, including health-care reform stalling, Scott Brown winning Ted Kennedy‘s Senate seat in Massachusetts and continued concern about job growth and the economy.