Robert Gibbs is as feisty a press secretary as they come, and he doesn’t shy from taking jabs at reporters or politicians who he feels could use a good dose of undermining. Perhaps his favorite tactic of all is comparing the behavior of adult people to that of his 6-year-old son, Ethan. Take yesterday, for example, when Gibbs basically called 185-year-old man John McCain a small child for saying that Republicans wouldn’t cooperate with Democrats for the rest of the year (a claim McCain has already begun to backpedal on):
I find it curious that not getting your way on one thing means you’ve decided to take your toys and go home. I don’t think it doesn’t work well for my six-year-old; I doubt it works well in the United States Senate, because we have issues that are important for his constituents and for all of America.
But Gibbs has a long history of likening actions, or even polling abilities, to those of a 6-year-old boy:
March 22, 2010: “I don’t know that I would want to explain to my 6-year-old why I had done or said some of the things that were done or said this past weekend.” —Gibbs on Representative Randy Neugebauer’s “baby killer” outburst and other slurs directed at congressmen during the passage of health-care reform
December 8, 2009: “I tell you, if I was a heart patient and Gallup was my EKG, I’d visit my doctor. If you look back, I think five days ago, there was an 11-point spread, now there’s a 1-point spread. I mean, I’m sure a 6-year-old with a crayon could do something not unlike that.” —Gibbs on the Gallup daily presidential approval tracking poll (this doesn’t directly reference Ethan, but we’re sure it’s who he had in mind)
December 4, 2009: “Right. April, April, calm down. Just take a deep breath for one second. See? This happens with my son. He does the same thing.” —Gibbs talking to April Ryan of American Urban Radio, who was asking a question about Desirée Rogers
November 30, 2009: “I’ve tried to counsel all of you throughout this process on what was on and what was off base. And it’s a little bit like talking to my 6-year old.” —Gibbs on “whether he had heard or read any reports that were off base in terms of the president’s Afghan decision,” according to National Journal’s CongressDaily
November 30, 2009: “My son does that.” —Gibbs to a reporter who wanted to ask a two-part question (?)
August 7, 2009: “It’s important that people be civil. We can discuss these issues without being uncivilized. It’s the same thing I tell my 6-year-old.” —Gibbs on health-care protesters
What can you say, the man is always thinking about his son, which is sweet. He does not, however, hold Ethan’s maturity or crayon-handling skills in especially high regard.