White House on Michael Jackson

Before I get to Robert Gibbs’ statement on the death of Michael Jackson, here’s my personal favorite performance:

MJ superfan Jake Tapper broached the subject first, and Gibbs related some of the President’s thoughts:

April Ryan then asked Gibbs why there had been no written statement on the singer’s death, when other leaders had done so.  Gibbs responded by giving us all permission to shout questions at the President during all future press conferences:


Q    Robert, back on Michael Jackson.  Understanding that many people viewed him as a complicated mix, you still had other world leaders come out with written statements on Michael Jackson — to include a leader here in the United States, Arnold Schwarzenegger, written statement; Nelson Mandela, others.  Why not issue a written statement for a man who has come to this White House, visited other Presidents, been honored by other Presidents for his humanitarian efforts?  He also worked with the Democratic Party, which this President is the head of, helped fundraise.  Why not a written statement?

MR. GIBBS:  I thought I did a pretty good job.

Q    But at first, yesterday we were told, no statement.  Then today you expected us to ask the President.  And now there’s —

MR. GIBBS:  Well, you guys are the media.  I generally expect — April, have you never interrupted me to ask a question?

Q    I have.

MR. GIBBS:  I was surprised by the — maybe I was just surprised.

Q    But what I’m getting at —

MR. GIBBS:  I watched a little cable today.

Q    What I’m getting at is why this way?  Why now?  I mean, we pressed you yesterday.  We kept asking, we kept asking.  And then we were told, no, no, no, no.

MR. GIBBS:  But I think we said that there wasn’t going to be a statement.  So I mean, I asked the President what he thought about it today, and as his spokesman, passed that along to you.

Yeah, that’s my giant head obscuring April during that whole clip.  I’ll duck next time.

After the briefing, a bunch of us were discussing the idea that one of us should have shouted a question to the President during the earlier press conference with Angela Merkel.  Someone pointed out that the President had paused after he had signaled that it was over, as if he expected us to fire the question at him.  There definitely was an unusual pause.

Perhaps untangling the late singer’s troubles from his talent was a task that the President felt better equipped to do with a verbal statement, rather than a written one.


  1. What won’t you do for face time on C-Span? Way to hog all of April’s camera time. Bad, correspondent. Bad.

    I’ll give you 100 dollars if you ask Gibbs, during the next conference, if he’s ever worked as a tranny hooker named Candy … I swear I know him from somewhere.

  2. […] I know we’ve already had Michael Jackson stories from Christina and Alex, and my own modest effort, but as my able colleagues pointed out, this is the model of restraint when compared to other media […]

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