Gibbs: Moran Leaving White House "to Spend More Time" With Her Family
By Garance Franke-Ruta
Leaving a job to spend more time with one's family is among the hoariest cliches in Washington.
When Karen Hughes announced on April 23, 2002, that she was leaving her post as counselor to President Bush, she said it was to return to Texas to spend more time with her family. "I said, 'I -- I love you, Mr. President, but my family and I are moving home to Texas,'" Hughes told CNN at the time. The tension between work and home for Hughes ultimately encouraged her to move away from the West Wing.
"Her husband and son will be happier in Texas, and she has put her family ahead of her service to my government, and I am extremely grateful for that approach and that priority," Bush said, after she announced her departure.
Today, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs invoked a similar description when asked by a reporter why Communications Director Ellen Moran, the only woman in a senior White House communications position, was moving to be chief of staff to the secretary of Commerce.
"Well, you guys asked me how I was doing when I came back here and my first answer was that I was worn out," Gibbs told reporters as he gaggled with the press aboard Air Force One en route to Iowa today. "She had the opportunity to go work as the chief of staff for the Commerce -- the new Commerce Secretary. It's a position that greatly interests her and it gives her a chance to spend more time with her husband and her children."
He continued: "And I don't doubt that we're all in many ways uniquely jealous of the opportunity to continue being a public servant at a level as high as that, but at the same time, having more time to see your family. I saw my son last night, but it was about 11:00 p.m. So I can understand what that means."
That exhaustion is something Gibbs mentioned in passing earlier in the gaggle, according to a White House transcript. "How are you?"Gibbs was asked.
"I'm good. I'm good. A little worn out, but that's par for the course," he had replied.
It was the second time in recent weeks that Gibbs has been quoted on the White House press gaggle transcripts complaining of fatigue.
"How are you, Robert?" he was asked on the April 3 Air Force One gaggle en route to Strasbourg, France.
"Tired. How are you?"
"About the same," replied the reporter.
"If I could figure out how to get more than about three hours of sleep I'd be set," Gibbs said.
"Are you having trouble sleeping or you just don't have time?" asked the journalist.
"A little bit of both, but it's as much -- it's as much just your sort of clock gets all off," Gibbs, who is frequently traveling with the highly mobile president across the country or world, said.
"The press corps takes Ambien for that," one of the corps joked.
"It's one of those things where I could probably sleep for a little bit -- I could sleep probably better at some point during the day than I can at some point during the night, so it's sort of a little maddening. But it's all good," Gibbs continued, before moving on to more formal questions.
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