Robert Gibbs: White House should ‘sit back and watch’


With Day One of shutdown underway, former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the Obama administration will not be bargaining with congressional Republicans to keep the government running.

“I think if you’re the White House you just sit back and watch,” Gibbs said on MSNBC Tuesday. “I don’t think there’s anything for you to do, I don’t think there’s anything you should do, I don’t think the White House will negotiate in any way.”

Of course the White House isn’t not going to negotiate when Republicans are asking it to give up its most prized possession, said Hardball host Chris Matthews.

“In a kidnapping, usually you grab the baby and ask for the money,” he said. “In this case Republicans are grabbing the money and are asking for the baby. The parent doesn’t give away the baby!”

Time magazine’s Mark Halperin said the key figure in the drama continued to be House Speaker John Boehner.

“The president risked his job to pass health care,” Halperin said. “i think right now, for this and the next debt ceiling crisis to end, he’s going to have to risk his job one way or the other.”

Politico’s Maggie Haberman agreed.

“He is going to have to be the wizard in this scenario and it’s very hard to see where the sorcery comes from. I don’t think he is going to turn over the floor to the Democrats, I think that would be the end of his Speakership.”

Matthews lamented that the larger problem concerns a lack of trust in elected leaders of both parties.

“Nobody in politics is truly trusted any more,” he said. “There’s no acceptance of objective facts any more. They speak from different pages and that’s why it’s very hard for –if there’s still somebody in the middle out there–to figure out what’s going on.”

Robert Gibbs: White House should 'sit back and watch'