Jay Carney debuted as President Obama's press secretary on Wednesday, facing a standing-room-only crowd of reporters in the White House briefing room. Carney — a former TIME Washington bureau chief who became Vice President Joe Biden's press secretary in 2009 — told reporters that he will try both to "promote the president" and "help you do your job." Carney's predecessor, Robert Gibbs, was often criticized for doing too much of the former and not enough of the latter. Based on Carney's first effort, how does he stack up? (See clips from Carney's debut)
Carney's got his own style: The new press secretary is "more soft-spoken and earnest" than Gibbs, wears dark ties instead of pastel ones, and gave "shorter and crisper" answers, says Jackie Calmes in The New York Times. There was none of Gibbs' "jokes and sports talk," or his "filibustering." But like his predecessor, Carney was late, and he similarly "provided a lot of quotes but no news."
"Carney's first press briefing draws a crowd"
And he won this first round: Carney's first day was a "victory," largely because it was free of "gaffes," says Perry Bacon Jr. in The Washington Post. "He seemed a bit nervous at first," but he loosened up and "stayed cool through persistent questioning." Not making any "major news" made Carney's "highly anticipated " debut "a success for the administration but a bit frustrating for journalists."
"Jay Carney's first White House briefing: Standing room only"
Like Gibbs, Carney won't be transparent: No press secretary "says anything newsworthy" these days, says Michael Scherer in TIME, and Carney has determinedly "crossed the line" from journalist (and my former boss at TIME) to protector and promoter of the president. Still, Carney has "known the joys and agonies of working as a reporter," which should make him something of an improvement over Gibbs.
"Seeking sunshine as press secretary Jay Carney takes the stage"