Celebrity Jeopardy: What is real power in Washington?

Rick Klein, David Chalian, Richard Coolidge & Sherisse Pham
Power PlayersApril 25, 2012

Top Line

Former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs certainly knows what real power is like. For the first three years of the Obama administration, Gibbs was the voice of the White House, standing behind a podium in the press room every day, where reporters peppered him with questions.

But this past weekend, Gibbs stood behind a very different kind of podium. And, to hear him tell it, he was genuinely nervous. Gibbs was a contestant in Jeopardy's Power Players week (yes, we like that name!), which airs the week of May 14th.

Prepping for the show was no joke. Gibbs said he and the other contestants -- journalists, politicians, and celebrities -- were rattled after meeting with Jeopardy executives just before taping.

"We just did this briefing on the rules, which they told us was an hour-long briefing condensed into 15 minutes, and I'm pretty sure all three of us would have easily left if we could," Gibbs laughed.

The former press secretary said "there's no doubt" host Alex Trebek is tougher than the White House press corps. Gibbs dominated the admittedly easy-going rehearsal game against his journalist opponents, though you'll have to tune into Jeopardy on May 14th to see how he fared in actual competition.

Gibbs added that preparing for a White House briefing is a more difficult task than preparing for Jeopardy, but "only because I'm almost positive there's no way to prepare for this," he said. "A friend asked me how I was preparing, and I told him I was reading the encyclopedia. It was a joke and he thought I was being serious."

Even though Gibbs is no longer with the Obama administration, he is still very much on message. Top Line asked him to provide Jeopardy-style questions to a couple answers.

Mitt Romney: "What is second place in the general election?" said Gibbs

Barack Obama: "What is the re-elected president of the United States of America?"