MICHIGAN CITY | Mentioning his time on the Barack Obama campaign trail coming through Indiana, Robert Gibbs brought some stories from the rural part of the state and the White House back to Michigan City.
Gibbs, a former White House press secretary and current senior adviser to the Obama administration, opened the 60th season of the Purdue North Central Sinai Forum at Michigan City High School on Sunday evening.
In his discussion, Gibbs painted a picture of what it was like to work for the president and in the White House.
Gibbs recalled “fond memories of the state of Indiana” he experienced during Obama’s presidential campaign, “sitting on a bus and going from small town to small town and meeting folks along the way.”
“It was a fun and remarkable experience,” said Gibbs. “It is sort of fitting for me to be back in Indiana to give you some stories and tell you what it was like.”
Gibbs noted Sunday was the “fifth anniversary of Lehman Bros collapse bringing its economic hardship to Main Street.”
“It was the day in which the campaign really changed,” Gibbs said. “People are going to talk this week about the anniversary of the financial crisis, when in actuality, people were dealing with this in their towns and cities well before that.”
Although the president received personal mail from people all around the country, “people write staffers, too,” noted Gibbs.
He said he once received a postcard that simply said “If you lost 40 pounds, you’d be a skinny buffoon.”
“Thankfully, it was not postmarked Michigan City, Indiana,” said Gibbs, to audience laughter. “I kept that postcard on that desk the rest of the days in the White House to have some humility as I went about my job.”
Gibbs said that his time serving in the White House was “nothing short of a lifetime dream and the highest honor.”
However, the job was not without its perils, Gibbs said.
“I hoped I wouldn’t be stumped on something that was obvious or something that I’d practiced and still got wrong,” Gibbs said. “Every single day, I woke up and opened newspaper or turned on television … and I groaned audibly, understanding that it would fall on me to explain something that was unexplainable.”