Making the Rounds
Ring, Ring: Gibbs Confiscates Reporter's Phone During Briefing
Updated 5:43 p.m.
By Garance Franke-Ruta
The White House briefing room erupted in laughter today as White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs put on his best high school principal face, stepped down from the podium and confiscated the cell phone of Human Events White House correspondent John Gizzi as it rang during a heated discussion with ABC News's Jake Tapper about the president's decision not to release photos showing the abuse of detainees in U.S. military custody.
"Give me the phone," Gibbs ordered, stepping down to the reporters' level as a voice cried out in jest, "This is enhanced interrogation technique!"
Gibbs took the phone, opened a side door in the briefing room and threw the phone to an aide in the adjacent room. Peals of laughter rang out.
"I made the determination that the illumination of the sound was distracting to the briefing as the Press Secretary to the President of the United States," he said, to more laughter.
A second reporter with a phone than rang moments later, Bill Plante of CBS News, kept his cell when he theatrically answered the call and took it outside. "Gibbs wants to take my phone, but I don't think it's a good idea," he told the person on the other line. "...I'll explain later."
Gizzi's phone, a "very old basic" Motorola, was quickly returned to him after the briefing. "I had it on loud... when I meant to have it on vibrate," Gizzi explained. "I barely use the the thing, quite frankly."
On the line? His editor. "He wanted copy, of course," said Gizzi.
Above, the video.
Posted at 4:10 PM ET on May 13, 2009
Making the Rounds
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