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Obama says press secretary Jay Carney resigning

Oklahoman Published: May 30, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama disclosed he’s losing his chief spokesman on the same day that the president came to the White House briefing room to personally announce the resignation of his Veterans Affairs secretary.

It was a Friday not quite like any other recently.

Press secretary Jay Carney had a surprise visitor to his daily news briefing, which began not long after Obama’s visit there to discuss Secretary Eric Shinseki’s departure.

Standing next to Carney in the crowded room, Obama said it was “bittersweet” to see his friend step down after three and a half years on the podium.

At the same time, Obama announced that Josh Earnest, currently principal deputy press secretary, would be taking over.

Carney said the transition will be complete around mid-June, but that Earnest will take his place traveling next week on a trip that Obama has scheduled 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 join the White House as 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 mid-sentence 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 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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