Paging Rush Limbaugh: Though he had refused to backtrack on the YouTube appellates-as-policymakers clip, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs tackled Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor’s other controversial soundbite, noting at the end of today’s briefing that “I think she’d say that her word choice in 2001 was poor” when she cited an advantage a Latina would have over a white man in judging cases. But Gibbs also referenced what he described as related quotations from others on the high court — Alito on his immigrant ancestry and Ginsberg on the female perspective — to back her up.
Muslim World Not One Big K-Mart?: Declining to characterize the U.S.relationship with the Muslim world by assigning a number from one to 10, Gibbs did paint the Obama team’s outreach as a work in progress. Referencing the president’s recent address in Turkey, he said next week’s Cairo speech would not denote “one-stop shopping.”
Relax, You Got an iPod: Gibbs avoided taking the high-school-gossip route by commenting on France’s supposed snub of the Queen for their upcoming D-Day festivities. “We are not in charge of the guest list,” he said. Asked if he wanted to bash the British tabloids (a la remarks about their apparent misreporting on Abu Ghraib photos), he clarified: “That was yesterday.” Gibbs did slyly add that he had “no doubt” the Queen’s attendance would be “important.” Perhaps someone forgot to deliver the Queen’s “Do you like me? Check yes/no” note to France?
Can’t Five Guys Deliver?: Following on the (lack of) news that the president hit up another fast food mecca this afternoon, CBS Radio’s Mark Knoller joked, “Can he get a hamburger in this building?” Gibbs delivered the usual lines about POTUS needing to “get out of the gate a little bit” and enjoy “the ability to walk around.” Knoller took a jab at NBC, asking whether their troops were the reason for the lunchtime trip. “Separate, separate,” Schoolmarm Gibbs cautioned Knoller and NBC’s Chuck Todd. Knoller questioned whether Joe Biden was upset to be left out of this burger run. “You’re on a roll, Mark!” National Security Council spokesperson Mike Hammer exclaimed.
Me and You, We are Not the Same: Chicago Sun-Times Obama guru Lynn Sweet hit Gibbs repeatedly on the purpose of Organizing for America’s story-gathering in preparation for the Hill’s healthcare debate. When Gibbs compared it to journalists’ day-to-day operations, Sweet retorted: “We move the story along.” Clearly considering any number of zingers, Gibbs said, “I’m holding back.” Gibbs eventually clarified, in grownup voice, that the stories are meant to influence the lawmakers who will be crafting healthcare legislation.