My Side Of The Story: Gibbs And The Cell Phones

(CBS)
The issue of the day at the White House briefing: the Obama administration's reversal of the decision to release photos of detainees being tortured. After an appeals court refused to hear the case, the administration said last month they would abide by the lower court's decision and release the photos. So the President's decision NOT to do so was the topic of most questioning today - intense at times.

Intense, that is, until a reporter John Gizzi's cell phone began chiming one of those vaguely familiar ring tones which have become this era's elevator music.

Spokesman Robert Gibbs looked up and said, "just put it on vibrate man. We did this before...it happened twice one day."

He resumed. Ten seconds later, Gizzi's phone went off again.

"Give me the phone," said Gibbs - and started down from the podium, hand outstretched.

Laugher all around.

Gibbs took the phone, walked to the pressroom door, and pitched it to someone inside.

More laughter.

Then the briefing resumed -- for thirty seconds.

That's when my phone rang - a standard ring, nothing imaginative. I answered. It was a source I'd been waiting to hear from.

"You too," asked Gibbs? "So you want to do it too? Here, come on."

"Gibbs wants to take my phone," I explained to the caller as I got up from the chair and headed outside.

"I assume it's your banker, with a suit like that?" Gibbs quipped as I walked out, in reference to my pin-striped suit. "There's cotton candy down the street. It's a circus."

I spent about five minutes on the phone and came back into the briefing.

I asked Gibbs if I'd missed anything.

He joked in response: "Will somebody brief Bill on our new Supreme Court nominee?"

Watch the video here:



Bill Plante is a CBS News senior White House correspondent.
  • Bill Plante

    Bill Plante is a CBS News Senior White House Correspondent

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