Josh Earnest to replace Jay Carney as White House press secy

Washington: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is stepping down and will be replaced by his deputy Josh Earnest, US President Barack Obama announced today.

Carney's departure was announced by Obama in a surprise appearance at his press briefing. "Jay has become one of my closest friends and is a great press secretary," Obama said. "I'm going to miss him a lot".

Carney, 49, who has been in this position for more than three and half years, would depart the White House after mid-June.

 Josh Earnest to replace Jay Carney as White House press secy

Jay Carney. Reuters

Earnest, who has been with Obama since his early election campaign days, has been par and parcel of the White House press team from day one.

Currently is the Deputy White House Press Secretary. Making the announcement, Obama said this is a bittersweet moment for him.

"In April, Jay came to me in the Oval Office and said he was thinking about moving on, and I was not thrilled, to say the least. But Jay's had to wrestle with this decision for quite some time. He has been on my team since day one, for two
years with the vice president, and for the past 3 1/2 years as my press secretary," Obama said.

Obama said Carney has been a reporter for 21 years before coming to the White House, including a stint as Moscow bureau chief for TIME magazine during the collapse of the Soviet Empire.

"So he comes to this place with a reporter's perspective. That's why, believe it or not, I actually think he will miss hanging out with all of you, including the guys in the front row," he said.

"I will continue to rely on him as a friend, an adviser after he leaves to spend as much of his summer as he can with his kids before he decides what's next for him. Whatever it is, I know he's going to be outstanding at it," Obama said.

Carney said being the White House Press Secretary has been an amazing experience for him.

"It has been an amazing experience, just so fulfilling," said Carney, who was press secretary of the US Vice President before being elevated to the post.

"It has been a privilege, and it continues to be a privilege. And every day in here with you has been a privilege. More often than not say to me, you have the hardest job or you have one of the hardest jobs. And I'm not saying it's easy every day, but I love it," Carney said.

"It's an important interaction that takes place here. 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. No matter how tough the briefing is, I walk out of here having been glad to stand here," he said.

Announcing Earnest as his new Press Secretary, Obama said: "Josh and I have an incredible history, going all the way back to the Iowa caucuses. Josh was my Iowa communications director, and even when he was in that role, you'd find him spending an extra hour or two helping young staffers make phone calls or knock on doors. There was no task that was too small, no detail too unimportant for Josh to attend to."

At the White House, Earnest has been a mentor to many of the young people here, he said.

PTI

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Updated Date: May 31, 2014 11:46:52 IST