An altercation began when security refused to admit some of the reporters slated to cover one of the president's appearances in New Delhi. Here's what went down:
American and Indian officials had agreed to allow a pool of eight American reporters into the beginning of the meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
But Indian officials then refused to allow more than five of them to enter. Mr. Gibbs loudly protested and at one point threatened to pull Mr. Obama out of the meeting if the security officials did not relent.
“At one point, Gibbs literally had his foot lodged in the closing front door, asking if the Indian security officials pushing hard to shut it were going to break his foot,” reports Scott Wilson of The Washington Post. “More angry words ensued, and after Gibbs convinced them, through high volume and repetition, that he was serious about pulling POTUS, we all made it inside.”
Reaction back at home has mostly broken down into two camps. Write ups in the New York Times and at CNN, for example, painted Gibbs positively, remarking that the press secretary had "defend[ed] reporters" and calling his move "bold" and "unique."
On the other hand, blogger rivrdog labeled Gibbs the "Chief Bully," and Wonkette mocked the "angry" Gibbs, paraphrasing him this way: "YOU DO NOT TELL AMERICANS THEY CAN HAVE FEWER THINGS THAN THE EXACT NUMBER OF THINGS THEY WANT TO HAVE. USA! USA! USA!"
I think both camps are missing the point: It's Gibbs's job to help journalists get the information they need as soon as they can get it. He isn't brave for doing the thing he's paid to do, but he shouldn't be labeled a bully, either. Gibbs did his job effectively, and, in the end, that's what matters.