Obama gives spokesman a tie as present on last day

WASHINGTON — President Obama made a rare appearance in the White House briefing room Friday to mark his longtime aide Robert Gibbs' last day at the White House — and to give Gibbs his old tie back.

Gibbs is leaving the White House after two years as press secretary and one of the president's closest advisers. He'll take some time off to give paid speeches before eventually joining Obama's re-election campaign full time.

He was with Obama in Boston during the Democratic convention in 2004 when Obama delivered the keynote address that catapulted him into the national spotlight.

Obama said Friday that it wasn't what he would say in that speech that caused the most concern that night: it was which tie he would wear.

"Then somebody turned and said 'You know what, what about Gibbs' tie? That might look good'," Obama said.

Gibbs eventually did hand over the blue tie he was wearing, Obama said. On Friday, Obama gave Gibbs that tie back, framed in a glass case, along with a photo of Obama from the convention.