Gibbs Says He Nearly Quit When Pentagon Wanted Him Out of the Situation Room

“The president has to protect that role of the press secretary to be there and to know what’s going on and to take it all in, and I had the same experience,” he said.

“President Clinton would stop meetings and say, ‘Get old Mike McCurry in here because the press is going to be on him on this and I want him to hear what we’re talking about’ – and he would literally stop meetings and make me come to the meeting so that I would actually see what their conversation was about. And a president who doesn’t respect that role is going to screw up the relationship that’s important,” McCurry added.

Nessen said Ford made it clear that he could sit in on any meeting, even though Henry Kissinger was sometimes not too happy about it.

“Kissinger was a little bit more of a problem but I think that’s one of the most important things you can do to make sure you’re getting all the most important facts to pass onto the press,” he said.

Gibbs also said his best day in the White House was when President Obama signed the healthcare reform law.

“I think our best day was probably signing healthcare. I just think the sense of accomplishment and euphoria of walking into the East Room and having the president sign that and now you have people come up to you and say, ‘I had a condition for 15 years, I could never get healthcare. Thank you for being a part of something like that,’” Gibbs said.

The Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010, remains a controversial issue. Many of the Republicans who won Senate seats held by Democrats in the midterm elections campaigned on repealing Obamacare. Republicans will control the House and Senate in the next Congress.

“On healthcare, there are certainly some lines I’m going to draw. Repeal of the law I won’t sign. Efforts that would take away healthcare from the 10 million people who now have it and the millions more who are eligible to get it, we're not going to support,” Obama said on Nov. 5.