Robert Gibbs Walks Back From Attack on 'Professional Left'S

White House press secretary was so nasty to whiny liberals — sorry, the "professional left" — in an interview published this morning, getting everyone all worked up. Now he's in the apology stage, calling his comments "inartful" and counterproductive.

Gibbs, who told The Hill that the "professional left" — trigger-happy bloggers, liberal activists, certain columnists and TV personalities, presumably (he didn't specify!) — is insatiable in its demands and needs to be "drug-tested," released a meandering half-apology for his comments a little while ago. Here's how it starts:

I watch too much cable, I admit. Day after day it gets frustrating. Yesterday I watched as someone called legislation to prevent teacher layoffs a bailout — but I know that's not a view held by many, nor were the views I was frustrated about.

Yes, those would be whiny views of the professional right, so it's good that he was frustrated about something else when he went nuts on the professional left.

So what I may have said inartfully, let me say this way — since coming to office in January 2009, this White House and Congress have worked tirelessly to put our country back on the right path. Most importantly, to dig our way out of a huge recession and build an economy that makes America more competitive and our middle class more secure. Some are frustrated that the change we want hasn't come fast enough for many Americans. That we all understand.

But in 17 months, we have seen Wall Street reform, historic health care reform, fair pay for women, a recovery act that pulled us back from a depression and got our economy moving again, record investments in clean energy that are creating jobs, student loan reforms so families can afford college, a weapons system canceled that the Pentagon didn't want, reset our relationship with the world and negotiated a nuclear weapons treaty that gets us closer to a world without fear of these weapons, just to name a few. And at the end of this month, 90,000 troops will have left Iraq and our combat mission will come to an end.

He ends by saying Democrats and the left, himself included, need to promote unity, work together on issues, blah blah blah. But there already is pretty solid unity on the left! Obama's approval rating among Democrats is still around 80%, and as bad as it's been since he took office. Sure, there's a (fairly self-contained) chattering class of writers and activists shouting OBAMA=BUSH, but Democrats overwhelmingly still have Obama's back. And that's with a vicious 10% unemployment rate.

Anyway, just consider if a George W. Bush press secretary had gone public to mock, say, the religious right. Bush would've had to personally serve James Dobson or Pat Robertson that press secretary's severed head, on Barbara Bush's finest silver platter, within fifteen minutes.