4:11pm

Thu January 27, 2011
Politics

Obama Picks Jay Carney As Press Secretary

President Obama has chosen Jay Carney to be the new White House Press Secretary.

Carney, who spent the last two years as Vice President Joe Biden's press secretary, will take over next month for departing spokesman Robert Gibbs. Before that, he helped to cover the White House for Time magazine.

Carney will soon be on the other side of the briefing room lectern, serving as the chief spokesman for the Obama administration, a role that has been occupied by Robert Gibbs.

Earlier this month, Gibbs announced he's leaving the White House. He'll be giving paid speeches and consulting for the Obama re-election campaign.

In choosing Carney, 45, Obama went with someone who is inside his circle yet also seen to understand the needs of the White House press corps as a former member of its ranks. As a reporter, Carney covered the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and rose to the position of the magazine's Washington bureau chief.

The decision was part of a package of new personnel changes at the White House. Obama's new chief of staff, Bill Daley, announced the changes in an e-mail to staff on Thursday, saying they would offer more clarity and coordination to Obama's operation.

"I look forward to working with all of you, those in existing roles as well as those filling new roles, in the weeks and months ahead," Daley wrote. "We have a great team."

Among the other moves: White House officials Alyssa Mastromonaco and Nancy-Ann DeParle were promoted to deputy chief of staff positions. Rob Nabors replaced Phil Schiliro as the president's legislative director.

Carney will not hold the type of counselor role to the president that Gibbs has formed over years by serving as a top aide to Obama from the time the president was a state senator in Illinois and all through his run for the White House. But Carney will be given every access he needs to the president and other decision-makers within the White House so he is in position to speak with full authority, a White House official said.

Unlike some of those considered for the job, including all of the ones who work inside the building, Carney does not have a deep campaign history of working for Obama and has only come to know him during the last two years.

Carney worked for Time magazine for 20 years, most recently serving as Washington bureau chief from 2005-2008. He speaks Russian and was based in Moscow for Time from 1990-1993, covering the collapse of the Soviet Union. His first job in journalism was at the Miami Herald, where he worked from 1987-1988 before being hired by Time.

Carney was born in Washington, D.C., and raised in northern Virginia. He's married to ABC News correspondent Claire Shipman.

Daley, senior adviser David Plouffe and communications director Dan Pfeiffer ran the review process for Gibbs' successor, and Obama met with some of the candidates.

As a former journalist, Carney may be more sympathetic to the needs of the White House press corps than Gibbs has been, though Carney is known for occasionally blowing up at reporters when he thinks they're getting the story wrong. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.