"I hear these people saying he's like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested," Gibbs said. "I mean, it's crazy."
The press secretary dismissed the "professional left" in terms very similar to those used by their opponents on the ideological right, saying, "They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we've eliminated the Pentagon. That's not reality."
Just hours after the interview was published, Gibbs desperately tried to walk back his comments, calling the administration's critics "inartful". He told the Huffington Post:
I watch too much cable, I admit. Day after day it gets frustrating. Yesterday I watched as someone called legislation to prevent teacher layoffs a bailout - but I know that's not a view held by many, nor were the views I was frustrated about.
Oh, it was the media's fault... again.
And the "state aid bill" was a bailout, but that's beside the point.
Gibbs went on to say: "So we should all, me included, stop fighting each other and arguing about our differences on certain policies".
Dear Liberal Left,
How does it feel to be unfairly criticized and characterized for holding a differing opinion from that of this administration? Welcome to the club.
The Rest of America.
Update: Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., is now calling for Robert Gibbs' resignation following his comments about the "professional left."
"This is not the first time that Mr. Gibbs has made untoward and inflammatory comments and I certainly hope that people in the White House don't share his view that the left is unimportant to the president," Ellison told the Huffington Post yesterday. "I understand him having some loyalty to the president who employs him, but I think he's walking over the line."
Ellison, a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), asks, "Why would [Gibbs] want to go out and deliberately insult the president's base?"