White House downplays internal rifts

Rumors of discord in President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaEbay founder funding Facebook whistleblower: report Emanuel defends handling of Chicago police shooting amid opposition to nomination McAuliffe rolls out ad featuring Obama ahead of campaign stop MORE’s inner circle were tamped down by White House press secretary Robert Gibbs on Tuesday.

Gibbs disputed recent stories in The Washington Post that quote Democrats on and off Capitol Hill who say Obama has not heeded the advice of Chief of Staff and former Rep. Rahm Emanuel, often to the president's and Democrats' political peril.

The reports said that Obama has overruled Emanuel on critical matters like the size of healthcare reform and the way to close the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. 

In response to the Post stories, Gibbs said: "I don't subscribe to all of it or a lot of it."

Talking to reporters in his West Wing office Tuesday morning, Gibbs went further, saying that Emanuel "absolutely" enjoys the president's full confidence.

"We all give advice to the president on a daily basis," Gibbs said.

"The president makes decisions, and we move forward. When we move forward, nobody moves forward with more determination than the chief of staff."

Gibbs insisted that there is "nobody working harder on passing the president's agenda than the chief of staff," brushing off the reports as typical Washington parlor talk.

Gibbs declined to engage in a discussion about whether Emanuel was right when it came to his reported push for a smaller healthcare bill that some Democratic critics say would have been easier to pass.

"I don't think the final chapter on how healthcare has played out has played out yet," Gibbs said.

As for a reported discussion between Emanuel, the president and Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamMayorkas tests positive for COVID-19 breakthrough case A pandemic of hyper-hypocrisy is infecting American politics Republicans' mantra should have been 'Stop the Spread' MORE (R-S.C.) on closing Guantanamo Bay held during the presidential transition, Gibbs said he did not "remember any extensive conversation."

"This, we always knew, was going to be a hard decision," Gibbs said.