White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs Stepping Down

January 5, 2011

Mark Memmott

"It's true," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs just told CBS News, when asked about stories this morning that he is leaving the administration. NPR's Mara Liasson has also confirmed the news.

Politico wrote last evening that:

"Administration officials -- who long denied that President Barack Obama was planning a major housecleaning in the wake of the disastrous 2010 midterms -- aren't pushing back anymore.

"Senior adviser David Axelrod has already announced his departure, and press secretary Robert Gibbs has also joined the roster of administration officials likely to leave in the coming weeks. ...

"Until recently, many in the building had expected Gibbs to stay. But according to sources, he is now seriously considering an exit from the West Wing -- a move that would allow him to work on Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign and act as a media surrogate for the president, the sources say."

Update at 10:26 a.m. ET: The Associated Press now adds that "Gibbs is leaving to become an outside political adviser to Obama and to give speeches in the private sector."

Speculation on a successor has so far focused on Gibbs' deputy, Bill Burton, and Jay Carney, spokesman for Vice President Biden. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.