White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs will follow in the footsteps of former Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel. Gibbs announced today that he will leave the Obama administration. Some sources say Gibbs will create a consulting firm that will assist with President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign, but the New York Times says that Gibbs is denying that he'll form a private business.
Mr. Gibbs said that he intends to leave the podium in early February. His successor has not yet been decided, he said, but will likely be announced within the next two weeks.
Mr. Gibbs will remain part of the president's inner circle of political advisers, along with David Axelrod, a senior adviser and Jim Messina, a deputy chief of staff, who also are leaving the White House to focus on the president's re-election effort. Mr. Gibbs will defend Mr. Obama on television - and will expand his presence on Twitter and other Internet platforms - as well as beginning to define the field of 2012 Republican presidential candidates.
"Stepping back will take some adjusting," Mr. Gibbs said in an interview Wednesday morning. "But at the same time, I have a feeling that I will keep myself quite busy, not just with speaking, but continuing to help the president."
He said he has no intention of establishing a political consulting or lobbying business, but he intends to work from the same downtown Washington office where David Plouffe has spent the last two years. Mr. Plouffe, who was Mr. Obama's campaign manager, will move to the White House and work as a senior adviser to the president.