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Jay Carney to be White House Press Secretary

Updated at 7:15 pm

Jay Carney, a former Time magazine reporter and current communications director for Vice President Biden, will replace Robert Gibbs as White House press secretary.

Carney was chosen over Deputy White House Press Secretary Bill Burton.

Carney, 45, is a veteran Washington hand well steeped in issues of policy, politics and journalism, a knowledge base that will serve him well as press secretary. He is well known to the White House press corps, many of whom have worked with him trying to get information out of spokespeople of the type Carney has now become.

But Carney is untested in the briefings, though he has vast TV experience and is expected to be able to handle the format. Burton has proven himself in the briefings as the regular substitute for Gibbs, but at 33 may have been viewed as too young to handle a job that will be key to Obama’s reelection prospects.

Carney, who will start work sometime around the middle of February, is married to Claire Shipman, the veteran ABC reporter who covered the White House for NBC during the Clinton years.

He’s solidly made the transition to spokesman, having drunk a big helping of Koolaid at the White House.

I once saw him at a Starbucks and asked him how things were going in his new position as Biden’s spokesman. “Just changing the world, one day at a time,” he replied.

OK. Awesome.

Despite once being one of them, Carney has a record of chewing out reporters, which he admits to.

But he really understands reporters – he’s married to one – and gets what they need and what they are trying to do.

Manipulating the press is an important part of his job. I say this as a professional, without any irony or rancor. The White House has a right to get its message out the best way in can. And knowing your enemy, which Carney really does, is the best qualification for doing battling with them, and making them do what you want.

And, having served Biden for two years, Carney has plenty of experience doing damage control, also an important part of the press secretary job.

Carney lacks the close relationship Gibbs had with Obama, and is more likely to take on the typical role of a press secretary, attending fewer high-level internal meetings and have less impact on policy.

He will have more of the aspect of a hired hand and will report to a trusted member of Obama’s inner circle, Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer.

No matter, perhaps. Mike McCurry, the Clinton spokesman known as perhaps the most successful modern press secretary, was also not among the close aides who had served the president for years when he took over the office.

Obama also has tapped two women to serve as deputy chief of staff to Bill Daley, Alyssa Mastromonaco and Nancy-Ann DeParle. DeParle led the successful White House effort to pass health care reform

9 thoughts on “Jay Carney to be White House Press Secretary”

  1. I am suprised Obama chose two women to serve as DCS in the White House. Liberals are well known (the Clinton Administration a good example) for stacking jobs with white males (the Bush Administration appointed more women and minorities than even the Obama Administration) and good ole boys from the Democratic Party. Bill Clinton enjoyed having sex with his employee’s … he just did not want them in positions of power.

  2. “Just changing the world, one day at a time,” he replied.

    Being ironical? If not, a littlwe West Wingy for me, but I will see how this works out. I could not stand Burton.

    Carney’s married to a reporter? I once did a story for the American Journalism Review called the “The Two Byline Bedroom.”about journalistic couples…there can be twists and turns. I remember ALL the reporters being mad at me–they didn’t love being interviewed and not getting to check all the quotes and browbeat me. I had to lock myself in the bathroom during the party that rolled out the issue. I was young then–I wonder if I would have the nerve to do it now. Oh, probably, but I am wiser for it.

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