Toby Harnden at the Telegraph says John King says that Gibbs got the boot because Daley didn’t want him around:
It’s being reported by John King on CNN right now that Gibbs wanted to be a presidential counsellor – something he’s been putting about for quite a while – but William Daley, the new chief of staff, nixed this because he believed that too many cooks would spoil the presidential broth. So that’s why Gibbs is out.
The President is supposedly working behind the scenes with Pete Rouse to clean house after the first of the year. It’s rumored that Gibbs will be gone (hard to see how he can stay, after the President treated him like a garden gnome in front of Bill Clinton and the New York Times). Likewise Patrick Gaspards and the rest of the political team.
But you didn’t have to be exceptionally wired in to see that the President had lost confidence in Gibbs. That NY Times piece on the Obama/Clinton press conference was painful to read:
The leader of the free world and the ex-leader wandered a deserted hallway, past the offices of the senior advisers, only to discover the door to the press corps briefing room locked.
Had it not been, Mr. Obama and Mr. Clinton might have discovered only a few reporters milling about or catching a few minutes of sleep. Instead, they turned around and found a junior staffer sitting outside of the office of Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary.
“Do you know how to open up the briefing room?” Mr. Obama asked the staffer, Katie Hogan.
“Yeah,” Mr. Clinton said, “can you help us unlock it?”
Hearing that, Mr. Gibbs walked out.
“I said, ‘what are you guys up to?’” Mr. Gibbs recalled later. “President Obama said, ‘we’re looking for some reporters.’”
“What have you guys got on your mind,” Mr. Gibbs –- always cautious — countered.
The two presidents told Mr. Gibbs that they had been talking about the controversial tax compromise that Mr. Obama had reached with Republicans and wanted Mr. Clinton to make a few remarks.
President Obama decides to give a spur-of-the-moment press conference. With Bill Clinton. If the door to the briefing room had been unlocked, they would have walked right in and started talking to reporters without even letting Gibbs know.
But because the briefing room is locked, they stick their heads into his office. Obama asks a junior staffer to unlock the room for them. Not Gibbs. The only reason Gibbs even knows about it is because he overhears them, and comes out of his office to ask about what’s happening.
This is Gibbs’ job. Obama totally humiliates him in front of Clinton and the junior staffer, and treats him like he’s completely superfluous to the process of holding a rather significant press conference.
That was on December 10. Now it’s entirely possible that Obama had already settled on the choice of Daley at that point, and Daley had nixed Gibbs. But you didn’t have to be the Amazing Kreskin to see that the President had lost confidence in Gibbs, and that isn’t a relationship a President wants to have with his Press Secretary.
I’m hearing that the two top candidates to replace Gibbs are Jay Carney and Stephanie Cutter. Carney may have the inside track because they want a Tony Snow — someone the press corps will be more reluctant to criticize because they view him as one of their own. But the campaign team knows that the White House has some fence mending to do with women, and having a woman as the face of the administration may help them on that front — especially if Harnden is right, and Jarrett is going to get her “wings clipped.”