The Obama administration has chosen its new public face: Jay Carney, 45, who's served as spokesman for Vice President Joe Biden since 2008, will take over for outgoing press secretary Robert Gibbs. (Watch an AP report about Jay Carney.) Here, a quick guide to the man who'll have to stare down the press in the White House briefing room:
What's his background?
Carney was a journalist at Time for 20 years, acting variously as the magazine's Moscow correspondent, White House correspondent, and Washington bureau chief. "He'll have the advantage of having been colleagues... with many journalists across the podium," says Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic. Carney quit Time to join the Obama administration in 2008.
How did that happen?
Carney's switch from journalism to politics surprised his colleagues — "I didn't even know Jay was a Democrat," said Time columnist Joe Klein at the time — and commentators were even more baffled. The left-wing blogosphere had accused him of being "in the tank" for McCain during the 2008 election, said Michael Calderone at Politico, and didn't expect him to join the Obama administration.
Will his Biden experience help him?
Carney got "good reviews" for his work in Biden's office, says Chris Peleo-Lazar at the National Journal. At the very least it will have prepared him for his new challenge, says Jim Newell at Gawker. "He should have a good understanding of how rapid-response operations work after mopping up for Joe Biden all the time."
Why was he chosen by Obama?
The president wants a "fresh and different" face connecting with the Fourth Estate, says John Gizzi at Human Events. That's especially important coming into a re-election campaign, says the Los Angeles Times. As a former member of the Washington news corps, Carney will be considered "the right person to court the national media." He'll be good at it, too, says Michael Tomasky at The Guardian. He's a "venerated member" of the "A-list of Washington media insiders who go to one another's parties" and "establish what passes for conventional wisdom" in the capital.
Anything else we should know about him?
His wife, Claire Shipman, is a senior news editor at ABC News. "If ABC starts getting a bunch of new scoops," says David Dayen at FireDogLake, "remember that."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How the South's ugly racial history is haunting ObamaCare
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Stop making fun of philosophy and read some philosophy
- Beware of Splenda: The backlash against artificial sugars
- If Democrats abandon immigration reform after Tuesday's likely loss, they will turn 2016 into a debacle
- Feast your eyes on this beautiful linguistic family tree
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 10 things you need to know today: October 31, 2014
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- What if Leo Strauss was right?
Subscribe to the Week