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Obama spokesman Gibbs to leave position in early February

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UPDATE: White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced Wednesday that he will step down and become an political adviser to the president during his re-election campaign.

President Barack Obama’s press secretary may leave the White House in a few weeks, part of a reshuffle that could see as many as eight key changes in the administration, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

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Robert Gibbs, who has been a senior voice in the White House since Obama took office nearly two years ago, is exploring a departure possibly to set up his own consulting firm and to play a lead role in his boss’s 2012 re-election campaign, the Post reported, citing two Democrats familiar with the deliberations.

The move, which the daily says could take place in the coming weeks, would mark the departure of one of Obama’s closest aides, an advisor who has been at his side since his days in the US Senate before running for president.

As Obama’s traveling spokesman during the 2008 campaign, Gibbs gained a reputation as a rapid rebuttal specialist while also advising Obama on key strategic matters.

Speculation has swirled about a rejigging of Obama’s inner circle, which would come as opposition Republicans take control of the House of Representatives and launch a bid to roll back Democratic legislation such as health care reform and reduce runaway government spending.

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A Clinton-era commerce secretary, Chicago political veteran and free-trade advocate William Daley, is being tipped to serve as the new chief of staff to replace Rahm Emanuel, who left to run for mayor of Chicago.

Obama is also expected to soon name a new chief for his National Economic Council following the departure of Lawrence Summers last year. Former Clinton-era official Gene Sperling is seen as a possible replacement.

Among key Obama staffers, his political guru David Axelrod is expected to decamp to Chicago to launch a 2012 reelection campaign.

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And David Plouffe, the political strategist who masterminded the vaunted state-by-state ground game in Obama’s 2008 election triumph, will meanwhile start work at the White House after two years on the sidelines.

The Post reported that Obama’s two deputy chiefs of staff, Jim Messina and Mona Sutphen, are also expected to leave, with Messina heading to Chicago to run the 2012 campaign.

Most of the positions are expected to go to people already working in the White House, or to former campaign loyalists, leaving Obama’s administration without a lot of fresh faces, the Post reported.

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Meanwhile on Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden announced the departure later this month of his chief of staff Ron Klain, who reportedly will become president of Case Holdings, a holding company for former AOL chairman Steve Case.

US administrations routinely experience reshuffles at the halfway point of a presidential term.


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In extreme crises, conservatism can turn to fascism. Here’s how that might play out

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5 movie "Back to the Future," Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox) travels in a time machine from the 1980s to the 1950s. When he tells people of the '50s he is from the '80s, he is met with skepticism.

1950s person: Then tell me, future boy, who's President of the United States in 1985?

This article first appeared at Salon.com.Marty McFly: Ronald Reagan.

1950s person: Ronald Reagan? The actor? [chuckles in disbelief] Then who's vice president? Jerry Lewis [comedian]?

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Who are the young people behind the Catalonia protest violence?

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The violent protests that have swept Catalonia over the jailing of nine separatist leaders have involved veteran anarchists and youthful troublemakers as well as outraged separatists, some of whom became radicalised only recently.

"I am 24, have a masters and a job and I never imagined myself setting fire to a barricade with my face masked," said one protester who gave her name only as Aida.

She has joined in protests every day since they erupted in the region after Spain's Supreme Court on Monday sentenced nine Catalan separatist leaders to up to 13 years in jail for sedition over a failed 2017 independence bid.

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Body language expert dissects the power dynamic at play in the iconic Nancy Pelosi photo

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Last week, President Donald Trump met with Democrats at the White House to discuss the way both sides could work to fix the President's mistakes in Syria. Democrats left the White House saying that the President had another meltdown during the meeting, which prompted Trump to claim Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was the one who had a meltdown. He then posted photos of Pelosi sitting quietly and another photo of Pelosi standing and pointing at him.

Body language expert Dr. Jack Brown posted the photo and gave his own analysis of what he believed was happening in the photo.

"When a person has little or no empathy — and/or when they're far from their emotional baseline, their ability to interpret how others will view an event becomes dramatically distorted," Brown explained Sunday. "Rarely has this behavioral axiom been better exemplified than last Wednesday at the White House."

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