President Barack Obama has chosen a White House insider and a former Time magazine journalist to be his next press secretary.
Jay Carney, 45, will provide one of the most public faces of the White House to the American public as Obama's presidency pivots toward re-election in 2012. He replaces Robert Gibbs, who has also held an outsized presence as a counselor to Obama for the last several years.
In choosing Carney, Vice President Joe Biden's communications director, 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. Carney built his career as a reporter, covering the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush for Time and rising 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."
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.
As Biden's aide, Carney has not sought a high profile, making sure his boss was the one in front of the camera and showing a reluctance to be quoted.
For the grueling job as Obama's press secretary, Carney had several factors working in his favor: his management skills as a former bureau chief at Time, his experience in front of the TV cameras during his reporting days, his work for Biden, and his age. Carney is about a decade older or more, for example, than the other internal candidates.
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.
As a former journalist, Carney may be more sympathetic to the needs of the White House press corps than Gibbs has been, although Carney is known for occasionally blowing up at reporters when he thinks they are getting the story wrong.