After serving four and a half years as secretary of Homeland Security, taking bullets for the president on immigration and several natural disasters, President Obama said goodbye to Janet Napolitano in just 154 words.
"I wish her the best of luck" he concluded in his short statement as she announced plans to take over the University of California.
The statement wasn't unfriendly. He did note, for example, that "I've come to rely on Janet's judgment and advice, but I've also come to value her friendship."
But it was short for a president known to give long-winded answers at press conferences.
For comparison, as counted by Google Documents, the president's statement on Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's resignation in January was 178 words. When Apple's Steve Jobs died, the president issued 200 words. The first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong, got 166 words when he died.
Statement by President Obama on Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's Announcement
I want to thank Secretary Napolitano for her outstanding work on behalf of the American people over the last four years. At the Department of Homeland Security, Janet's portfolio has included some of the toughest challenges facing our country. She's worked around the clock to respond to natural disasters, from the Joplin tornado to Hurricane Sandy, helping Americans recover and rebuild. Since day one, Janet has led my administration's effort to secure our borders, deploying a historic number of resources, while also taking steps to make our immigration system fairer and more consistent with our values. And the American people are safer and more secure thanks to Janet's leadership in protecting our homeland against terrorist attacks. I've come to rely on Janet's judgment and advice, but I've also come to value her friendship. And as she begins a new chapter in a remarkable career of public service, I wish her the best of luck.
Statement by the President on Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood
I want to thank Secretary LaHood for his dedication, his hard work, and his years of service to the American people - including the outstanding work he's done over the last four years as Secretary of Transportation. I also want to thank Ray for his friendship. Years ago, we were drawn together by a shared belief that those of us in public service owe an allegiance not to party or faction, but to the people we were elected to represent. And Ray has never wavered in that belief. As Secretary of Transportation, he has fought to create jobs and grow our economy by rebuilding our roads, bridges and transit systems. Under his leadership, we have made significant investments in our passenger rail system and laid the groundwork for the high-speed rail network of the future. And every American who travels by air, rail or highway can thank Ray for his commitment to making our entire transportation system safer and stronger. I am grateful to Ray for everything he's done, and I wish him only the best going forward.
Statement by the President on the Passing of Neil Armstrong
Michelle and I were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Neil Armstrong.
Neil was among the greatest of American heroes - not just of his time, but of all time. When he and his fellow crew members lifted off aboard Apollo 11 in 1969, they carried with them the aspirations of an entire nation. They set out to show the world that the American spirit can see beyond what seems unimaginable - that with enough drive and ingenuity, anything is possible. And when Neil stepped foot on the surface of the moon for the first time, he delivered a moment of human achievement that will never be forgotten.
Today, Neil's spirit of discovery lives on in all the men and women who have devoted their lives to exploring the unknown - including those who are ensuring that we reach higher and go further in space. That legacy will endure - sparked by a man who taught us the enormous power of one small step.
Following the loss of visionary Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, President Obama released this statement:
Michelle and I are saddened to learn of the passing of Steve Jobs. Steve was among the greatest of American innovators - brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it.
By building one of the planet's most successful companies from his garage, he exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity. By making computers personal and putting the internet in our pockets, he made the information revolution not only accessible, but intuitive and fun. And by turning his talents to storytelling, he has brought joy to millions of children and grownups alike. Steve was fond of saying that he lived every day like it was his last. Because he did, he transformed our lives, redefined entire industries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: he changed the way each of us sees the world.
The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve's success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Steve's wife Laurene, his family, and all those who loved him.
Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.