Obama staffer has strong ties to Beaufort County

Published 8:37 am Friday, November 7, 2008

By Staff
Father was born, raised in Bath
Staff Writer
Robert L. “Bobby” Gibbs is a key staffer for president-elect Barack Obama, reported to be in line for a job as White House press secretary.
He also likes to walk along the Pamlico River and is the son of Bath native Robert Coleman Gibbs.
Thursday night, the AP said Gibbs is “the likely pick” for the job, while a few news agencies were reporting that an offer was dead-certain.
Just to be clear: That’s Robert L., expected to snag a top spot in the executive branch; Robert C., proud papa and Bath native.
Thursday night Gibbs, who lives in Apex now, didn’t know for sure if his son had gotten the big job or not, but his son is happy in his work, even though it keeps him busy, he said.
He spoke with his son Wednesday night, he said.
Gibbs’ son was last in Bath in 2007, when his work brought him to the area, the elder Gibbs said.
Robert C. Gibbs’s family was originally from Hyde County, but he was born and raised in Bath, where he remembers boating on Bath Creek and going to the movies, he said.
He attended Bath High School, but ended up graduating from Washington High School because it had a science lab. (“It was my father’s decision,” he said.)
After that, he left the region, getting degrees from Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before working at a string of prestigious universities.
His son, Robert L. Gibbs was born in Auburn, Ala., where his father worked as a librarian, but the family visited Robert C. Gibbs’ parents, who lived in Bath, a couple of times each year.
The younger Gibbs, graduated from North Carolina State University in 1992 with a degree in political science, he said.
Robert L. Gibbs now keeps an apartment in Chicago and lives in Virginia with his wife and young son, but he got his start in politics closer to the old family stomping grounds.
Lately, he’s been a top press aide for Obama, and before that he worked for Sen. John Kerry’s 2004 campaign for the presidency.
He joined the Obama campaign early on, said his uncle, Milo Gibbs of Washington.
Both father and son still visit the area. Milo Gibbs sees his nephew about twice a year, on average, he said.
Milo Gibbs described his nephew as affable, good-looking and bright.
He said, “He’s always smiling.”