White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, from behind the White House podium, took a personal shot at CNBC reporter Rick Santelli, when a questioned at Friday’s news briefing.
Josh Gerstein of Politico reported Gibbs' statement this way:
“I’ve watched Mr. Santelli on cable the past 24 hours or so. I’m not entirely sure where Mr. Santelli lives or in what house he lives but the American people are struggling every day to meet their mortgages, stay in their jobs, pay their bills, send their kids to school,” Gibbs said. “I think we left a few months ago the adage that if it was good for a derivatives trader that it was good for Main Street. I think the verdict is in on that,” the press secretary said, poking directly at the cable journalist, who reports from the trading floor at the Chicago Board of Trade.
Gibbs insisted Santelli was misinformed when he said Obama’s program would amount to a transfer of money from prudent taxpayers to those who had taken reckless risks.
“Mr. Santelli has argued, I think quite wrongly, that this plan won’t help everyone,” Gibbs said. “This plan helps people who have been playing by the rules. ... I would encouraged him to read the president’s plan. ... I’d be more than happy to have him come here to read it. I’d be happy to buy him a cup of coffee — decaf,” the press secretary said, in a not-so-subtle jab at Santelli’s frantic style.
Gibbs brandished a copy of a fact sheet about Obama’s plan. “Download it, hit print, and begin to read it,” he said. In an unusually personal and direct attack on a specific journalist, Gibbs used Santelli’s name at least five times.
The reason why Santelli drew the wrath of the White House was because he had the audacity to accuse the president of creating a housing bailout that is unfair to the millions who bought their homes in a responsible manner and have been making their mortgage payments.
"Government is promoting bad behavior. Do we really want to subsidize the losers' mortgages?" he asked on air Thursday. "This is America! How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor's mortgage?
President Obama, are you listening?"
Apparently he was.
Here is Santelli's famous Chicago Tea Party in July cry: