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Obama says goodbye to White House press secretary Jay Carney


WASHINGTON (AP) -- White House press secretary Jay Carney became the news instead of just delivering it Friday, when President Barack Obama unexpectedly interrupted the daily media briefing to announce Carney's resignation after three and a half years as his primary spokesman.

Obama said it was "bittersweet" to see his friend Carney step down and announced that principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest will take over the job. Carney said the ultimate transition will take place around mid-June, but Earnest will take his place traveling next week on Obama's trip to Europe.

Carney brought rare but practical experience to the job as a former reporter who once covered the White House for Time magazine. He left journalism to become communications director for Vice President Joe Biden and subsequently moved over to serve as Obama's press secretary in 2011.

"He comes to this place with a reporter's perspective," Obama told reporters after interrupting Carney midsentence at the beginning of Carney's daily news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room. "That's why, believe it or not, I think he will miss hanging out with you."

A key component of a White House press secretary's job is to regularly joust with reporters in an intense question-and-answer session. Obama said he is putting the "flak jacket" for dealing with the press on another friend in Earnest, who has worked with Obama since he was his communications director for the Iowa caucuses in the 2008 campaign.

The affable Earnest is well-liked within the White House press corps, and reporters applauded the announcement.

"As you know, his name describes his demeanor," Obama said. "Josh is an earnest guy and you can't find just a nicer individual even outside of Washington."

Obama also teased Earnest for being the "golden voice and dulcet tones" that narrates West Wing Week, the weekly recap of White House events on YouTube. Earnest told reporters he's "grateful and excited and relishes the opportunity to spend the next couple of years with you."

It was Obama's second appearance in the briefing room Friday to announce a resignation, the first being under much more somber circumstances as Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki left under pressure due to widespread problems plaguing the agency's health care system. Obama said Carney's job has put a strain on his family and the press secretary told him in April that he's been wrestling with the decision whether to leave for some time.

The president said Carney plans to take the summer off before getting a new job. Carney said he's made no decision yet on his next step, but is excited about some of the possibilities he's begun to explore. He ruled out rumors that he would serve as ambassador to Russia, after having covered the collapse of the Soviet Empire for Time, saying his wife and two children wouldn't welcome such a move.

Carney expressed his appreciation for working at the White House for five years, even though he says being press secretary is not easy.

"It's an important interaction that takes place here," Carney said. "It's not always pretty. It could certainly be better. But to be a part of it is an honor and a joy for me. And no matter how tough the briefing is, I walk out of here having been glad to stand here."

Obama said that Carney had demonstrated good judgment and temperament and said he will continue to rely on his advice from outside the West Wing. The two men embraced before Obama made his exit.


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rbell72981 May 30 2014 at 4:22 PM

One of the biggest lairs protecting the pos in the white house. Glad that 1 is gone now if we could just get rid of the king pos and his henchmen.

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40 replies
ram4131 May 30 2014 at 4:23 PM

Uh oh.....let's brace ourselves. I'm thinking there is some sh*tstorm coming and Carney wants NO PART of facing the barrage of cameras in his face to explain his boss' next blunder.

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35 replies
donpantanella May 30 2014 at 4:25 PM

My guess is Carney got tired of trying to excuse Obamas screw-ups.

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37 replies
mrfitman May 30 2014 at 4:26 PM

He wanted his SOUL back??? Too late!!

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15 replies
Paul May 30 2014 at 4:27 PM

I guess Jay's conscience finally got to him. You could tell the stress of standing up for a scoundrel and holding his tongue was very taxing. It's amazing he lasted this long.

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19 replies
dhsdome May 30 2014 at 4:11 PM

Was he tired of lying or did he run out of lies???

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28 replies
Patrick May 30 2014 at 4:23 PM

Liars lying for Liars ! Good riddens; Next! "welcome to your job during IMPEACHMENT" !

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21 replies
chopin512211 May 30 2014 at 4:24 PM

Next step, who is next to step down?????????

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28 replies
davidcpasq May 30 2014 at 4:25 PM

as the rats jump ship...

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5 replies
mgm0803 May 30 2014 at 4:27 PM

just one more pathetic reflection of king obama's administration.

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18 replies
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