Passage To India: The Obama Trip To India

The "optics" from the India trip are going from bad to worse. Right now, the main picture on Yahoo! news is a shot of a vein-popping Robert Gibbs yelling at some Indian flunky over press passes. His actual behavior was just as embarrassing:

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is known for sparring with White House reporters, making for what often seems an antagonistic mood in the press briefing room.

But during President Obama's trip to India, Gibbs assumed the role of press advocate and threatened to pull Obama out of bilateral talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh because three U.S. reporters were blocked from covering the meeting.

Indian officials would let only five reporters into Hyderabad House in New Delhi instead of the agreed-upon eight.

The Washington Post's Scott Wilson—who was on White House pool duty Monday and filed the report for theWhite House press corps—wrote that "Gibbs announced loudly and persistently on steps of Hyderabad House that he would pull" President Obama out of the meeting "unless 'the White House 8,' as we've come to be known, were all allowed in."

As the discussion continued, Gibbs grew more animated.

"At one point, Gibbs literally had his foot lodged in the closing front door, asking if the Indian security officials pushing hard to shut it were going to break his foot," Wilson continued. "More angry words ensued, and after Gibbs convinced them, through high volume and repetition, that he was serious" about pulling Obama, the press secretary had the security retinue's full attention.

Query: if Democrats sustained a historic electoral loss due to "poor messaging," why does this guy still have a job? More important, can a press secretary really pull a president out of a meeting with another country's head of state over press credentials?

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