Did Robert Gibbs Curse Out Michelle Obama?

Bernie Goldberg analyzes shocking allegations stemming from new book 'The Obamas'


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," January 09, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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In the "Weekdays with Bernie" segment tonight, a new book out called "The Obamas" alleges that the first lady was appearing in public looking far too glamorous in bad economic times. Author Jodi Kantor says that caused angst within the White House so much so that White House spokesman Robert Gibbs actually cursed at Valerie Jarrett, Michelle Obama's close friend and the included the first lady in the tirade.

Joining us now from Miami to sort it all out, purveyor of, Mr. Goldberg.

So does this sound credible to you?

BERNIE GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, it really does. Not the least reason of which is that David Axelrod, the president's long-time friend and political advisor, acknowledged that it happened in an interview with George Stephanopoulos yesterday.

But it's part of a bigger picture. First of all, in this particular episode, Gibbs apparently was angry that Michelle Obama was quoted in a book published in France, saying life in the White House is hell. He was trying to find out if it was true, and nobody from the first lady's staff would even get back to him. So there was tension there.

Then there was what you mentioned in the lead-in about, you know, expensive clothing during hard times. Michelle Obama, according to Jodi Kantor, went to a food bank -- Bill, a food bank -- wearing $515 sneakers. Gibbs is a guy who understands that images matter. He blew up. And he was doing the president and Mrs. Obama a favor, even if they didn't realize it, because you don't go to a food bank wearing $515 sneakers.

O'REILLY: Shocking part is breach of decorum. I can't imagine, for example, the spokesman for Ronald Reagan cursing at Nancy Reagan. And we want to be very clear about that. Gibbs didn't do it face to face. He did it through Valerie Jarrett, who is a very, very close friend of both the president and Mr. Obama.

Picture it. You remember Nancy Reagan was -- she was in -- she was portrayed as imperious, with the silverware and the plates and the this and the that. And can you imagine the Reagan spokesperson having this kind of a confrontation about how Mrs. Reagan was behaving? And there was a recession back then, as well. I can't. So the breach of decorum is what's shocking about this report.

GOLDBERG: I can't picture it either. I agree with you on that. But I must say, this doesn't shock me. The breach of decorum will not -- it doesn't shock me. There was a lot of tension between the first lady and her staff and Robert Gibbs. And at some point in what they felt was a private meeting, they were going to blow, and it did.

O'REILLY: It did. And that could have led to Gibbs getting out of there. There's no doubt about it. Because I don't think, knowing -- knowing the president and the first lady a little bit, that that was going to acceptable conduct. I know it was not.

OK. Now, on seeing Michele Obama, we usually don't report Internet stuff because it really doesn't matter very much. But Bernie and I have a running dialogue about racism in the campaign. All right?

And there was a picture -- I want you to throw the picture up now of Michelle Obama portrayed of Marie Antoinette, all right, who was the historical icon of excess. And she was in France and she's the famous person that said, "Let them eat cake" when all the French peasants didn't have anything.

Now, the point was to be made almost along the same lines, Bernie, that while times are tough in America, that Mrs. Obama seems to be living pretty well. But then, the moment that the picture went up, the charges of racism went up.

GOLDBERG: Right. Let me give you a little background.

Michelle Obama is going to be on a Nickelodeon sitcom in which she praises the kids in the sit-com for caring about military families. And one of the characters, not knowing how to address the first lady, referred to her as "your Excellency." Now in the show, according to the script, Mrs. Obama says, "I like that." She likes being called "your Excellency." Now, of course, a writer put the words in the mouth, but that's apparently what she says.

O'REILLY: All right. And then a right-wing blog got a hold of it. It's that deal. And then the defenders of Mrs. Obama branded it as racist.


O'REILLY: Now, whether you think that's high-brow satire or low-brow satire or whether the comparison is justified or not, you are not going to believe this. People at home, folks, I am not making this up.

The L.A. Times writes, and this is the one sentence that's a key sentence. The caricature of Mrs. Obama as a profligate queen relies on the racist stereotype of an uppity Negro. You can't make this up.

Bill, last week we said there's going to be charges of racism over and over again during this campaign if you disagree with the Obamas about just about anything. This is as crazy as it gets.

As I say, the comparison to Marie Antoinette, I don't even want to get into whether it's justified or not.

O'REILLY: It's not justified.

GOLDBERG: But is it racist?


O'REILLY: ... villainous? No.


O'REILLY: No, it's making a point about elitism. It's elitism that is what is in play here.

GOLDBERG: But to say that this relies on images of the uppity Negro, it just isn't thinkable. And it's harmful because when they do this over and over again, what's going happen when real racism happens.

O'REILLY: It's the boy who cried wolf. Now, Bernie and I...

GOLDBERG: Bernie and I were going to do the late-night comedians. We're going to save that for next time Bernie appears, because there has been a study about the late-night comedians and their takes about mocking Republicans and Democrats. It's pretty interesting.

Bernie, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

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