President Obama is used to drawing huge crowds. But press secretary Robert Gibbs had a sizeable audience of his own Thursday afternoon, when he stepped in front of the White House press corps for the first time.
Gibbs was quickly pressed to defend the president's new executive orders, directing the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison and issuing new limits on the way detainees can be interrogated.
"The president believes that what he did today will enhance the security of the American people, that it lives up to our values as Americans, and that it will protect the men and women that we have in uniform," Gibbs said.
He fielded some tough questions about exceptions the administration has made to its new policy against lobbyists in government, and about why TV cameras were excluded from Wednesday night's redo of the swearing-in ceremony.
Gibbs cracked a couple of jokes during the news conference. He also answered a softball question about how the president is settling in.
"I know that at the end of the first night, he had to ask somebody about where he's supposed to go next. It's a pretty big house. You know, I've known the president for a long time. And he looked very comfortable in his surroundings yesterday," Gibbs said.