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Gibbs Announces February Departure From White House

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White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has announced he's leaving his post next month, on the same day new members of Congress take their seats. Gibbs said it had been an honor to serve under President Barack Obama and a member of his staff for the better part of seven years. He said he's going to "step back a little bit and recharge some," adding that he will continue to advise the president.

In a statement posted online on Wednesday, the day of Gibbs' announcement, the president called him "one of my closest advisers and an effective advocate from the podium." He said Gibbs will continue to play an "important role" for "our team."

The Associated Press reports that several of Gibbs' colleagues are in the running to succeed him, including deputy press secretaries Bill Burton and Josh Earnest, although no one has been officially named to replace Gibbs at this time.  

Meanwhile, elsewhere on Capitol Hill, new members of Congress were sworn in and the House of Represenatives elected its new speaker: Ohio Congressman John Boehner. Republicans won control of the House following the November elections. Democrats maintained their majority in the Senate.