Spokesman: Gibbs 'answered honestly' when speaking of frustations with the left

White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton said Robert Gibbs "answered honestly" when he told The Hill about frustrations the administration has with "the professional left."

Burton, who was filling in at Tuesday’s press briefing for an ill Gibbs, said the story is a "small issue" that will not distract President Obama and his aides from focusing on important matters facing the country.


In an interview with The Hill, the White House press secretary blasted the left for complaining that Obama has not accomplished enough. His comments sparked a firestorm among the liberal blogosphere Tuesday morning, leading Gibbs to tell a handful of left-leaning publications that his comments were "inartful."

Burton said he is not backing off what Gibbs said, but that frustrations at the White House, while real, are "minimal" compared to the focus aides bring to solving the larger issues of the day.

"I would just say that our focus today isn't one article in a Hill publication, it's what the president's doing to strengthen the economy," Burton said.

He noted: "I think what Gibbs was doing was having one conversation with one reporter, and in response to some questions about frustration, just answered honestly. I don't think that it should be read as anything more than that."

Burton added that Obama still believes liberals and others should hold him accountable, "and to a very high standard."

He said that "every single person in [the White House], including the one that lives here," can become frustrated with the chatter on cable TV. That comment was in reference to Gibbs’s defense of his remarks, in which he said he's guilty of watching "too much cable."

Burton dismissed calls for Gibbs's resignation.

"I don't think there's any danger of that," Burton said.

Gibbs was scheduled to do the Tuesday briefing, but Burton said the press secretary had to miss it because he has the "sniffles."