Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison, stung by White House press secretary Robert Gibbs’ dismissive comments about the growing dissatisfaction of the “professional left,” told a reporter Tuesday that President Obama’s top spokester should be sacked.
"I think that'd be fair, yeah. That'd be fair,” Ellison told a Huffington Post
reporter who asked about Gibbs’ earlier comments to The Hill newspaper.
"I hear these people saying he's like George Bush,” Gibbs was quoted saying about Obama’s liberal critics. “Those people ought to be drug tested.”
further quoted Gibbs saying, “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we've eliminated the Pentagon. That's not reality…They wouldn't be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president."
Ellison, a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told Huff Post that Gibbs simply went too far.
“Why would he want to go out and deliberately insult the president's base?” Ellison told the liberal Web site. “I think that was an inflammatory remark that is emblematic of his careless use of language and is an example of why he may not be the best person for the job… Gibbs crossed the line. His dismissal would be fair."
Asked about the rift, deputy press secretary Bill Burton
, a University of Minnesota grad, suggested that Gibbs did not intend his remarks to be taken literally. "He was making a light joke," Burton said.
As for Ellison's suggestion that Gibbs resign, Burton said, "I don't think there's any danger of that."