By Dan Lothian, CNN White House Correspondent
Washington (CNN) - In the tight circle that surrounds President Obama, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs is in the inner bubble.
He's the 3 a.m. wake-up call when North Korea fires a test missile, or when the Nobel committee picks the president for the top award.
"Trust me, it is a job I would gladly give to anybody who would volunteer," Gibbs said.
Or would he?
After all, he's an adviser, a friend and a mouthpiece for the administration with more access than recent press secretaries.
"I can walk in and ask him a question at any given time, pick up the phone and talk to him about anything at any given time. I think [that] makes my job easier," Gibbs said in an exclusive interview with CNN.
The president and the press secretary first connected in 2004 when Obama was a virtual unknown outside of Chicago, Illinois, and was campaigning for the U.S. Senate. They clicked and grew close, leading Obama to tell the Wall Street Journal in a 2008 interview, "Robert is the guy I want in the foxhole with me during incoming fire. If I'm wrong, he challenges me. He's not intimidated by me."
Gibbs chuckled while recalling the comment and quipped, "That is when we called him 'Senator' or by his first name."