Three’s… Funny Company: The immediate prelude to the Robert Gibbs Show today was an afternoon stakeout hosted by new-BFFs-on-ed-reform Al Sharpton, Michael Bloomberg, and Newt Gingrich, following their POTUS rendezvous. Sharpton recognized that he and sidekick Gingrich “have not agreed on anything politically” and Gibbs would later call the group “quite a different political spectrum… to say the least.” The duo (Sharp-rich?) labeled education as a “civil right” and Gingrich hailed Bloomberg and Education Secretary Arne Duncan as two great education leaders for their cities. The NYC mayor took the compliment and ran with it, using his platform to explain how awesomely his city’s school system is doing. When Wash Times’s Jon Ward noted in the briefing that it was “too bad” Gibbs had not been in the meeting, Gibbs added: “I’m a little sorry I missed it as well.”
AF1-gate Update: Asked about hard feelings on the NYC flyover incident, Bloomberg said the incident was “long gone in history.” Really, that was SO a week and a half ago. (Gibbs acknowledged that the WH has promised to release the official photo(s) by the end of this week.)
In Real America…: Gibbs took another shot at Washingtonians (or at least the politicos and press corps) for characterizing the $17 billion in Obama’s proposed budget cuts as a small piece of the pie. “$17 billion is a lot of money to people in America,” he said, though it “might not be a lot in this town.” He challenged NBC’s Chuck Todd to accompany him out to the street to pose the same question, to which C-Todd pointed out that the number is still only one-half of one percent of next year’s spending. “It’s only one half of one percent!” CBS Radio’s Mark Knoller would yell later, to which Gibbs shot back that “it didn’t take me till the second row” to figure out the reporters’ premise.
But Really…: “This conversation’s a little silly,” WSJ’s Jonathan Weisman said, pointing out that the figure was not a net total since new programs were also being added. Amid all the excitement — including many references to Obama’s campaign-trail remarks on the tiny impact of billions in earmarks — Gibbs arrived at a bottom line that seemed to quell the excited masses: that the president is taking the “long view” on this, and that “For a long time … no one’s even taken the easy steps.” Challenged on the point that the Bush administration made even bigger proposals that didn’t pan out, Gibbs jabbed: “As always, we’d prefer the results speak for themselves.”
Take Me Out of the Ball Game: Gibbs, on WH reaction to Dodger hotshot Manny Ramirez’s positive drug test: “It’s a tragedy. It’s a shame … a great embarrassment to Major League Baseball.”