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Obama gives White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs sentimental goodbye

President Obama returns tie he borrowed from Robert Gibbs in 2004 at Gibbs’ last briefing as White House press secretary. (photo by Lynn Sweet)

White House press staff at Gibbs final briefing. From left, Amy Brundage, Bill Burton, Tommy Vietor, Reid Cherlin, Clark Stevens, Josh Earnest, Nick Shapiro. Gibbs at the podium. (photo by Lynn Sweet)

WASHINGTON–President Obama came to the White House briefing room Friday to bid farewell to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. Obama returned a tie he borrowed–in 2004.

Obama explains the tie, given back in a frame:

And I know that a lot of you think that probably most attention was devoted to the speech that I delivered, the keynote speech in Boston, but in fact actually the most challenging problem was what tie to wear.

And this went up to the very last minute. I mean, 10 minutes before we were about to go on stage, we were still having an argument about ties. I had bought five, six ties. And Michelle didn’t like any of them. Axelrod didn’t like a couple of them — him being, you know, one of the best-dressed men in the world — — so we really valued HIS opinion.

And then somebody — I don’t remember who it was — turned and said: You know what? What about Gibbs’s tie? What about Gibbs’s tie? That might look good.

And frankly, Robert didn’t want to give it up, because he thought he looked really good in the tie. But eventually he was willing to “take one for the Gipper,” and so he took off his tie and I put it on. And that’s the tie that I wore at the national convention.

He has not said about — anything about this tie all these years, but I have to tell you that I know there’s a simmering resentment that he never got it back. ….And so as a consequence, I wanted, here today…… I wanted this on the record, on camera – — that I’m finally returning Robert’s tie.

And if he chooses to break the glass, he can.

But this is going to be a reminder to me that Robert has not only been an extraordinary press secretary, but he has been a great friend.