Obama’s New Voice: Importance of Being Earnest

Originally posted at 2:06 pm EDT, May 30

Jay Carney is on his way out of the White House.

Josh Earnest is on his way up.

The former Time magazine correspondent who has served Obama as press secretary since the first term, following Robert Gibbs, plans to leave in mid-June.

And the man who served as Obama’s communications director in Iowa at the start of his 2008 presidential campaign will take over, starting with a tour of Europe with the president at the Group of Seven industrial nations summit next week.

“Today the flak jacket is officially passed to a new generation, Mr. Josh Earnest,” Obama said today, appearing alongside Carney before reporters in the West Wing.

“His name describes his demeanor,” the president said. “Josh is an earnest guy, and you can’t find a nicer individual, even outside of Washington.”

Originally published on May 30 at With Earnest, who has served as principal deputy press secretary, seated to the side of the briefing room, Obama said: “Josh and I have an incredible history going all the way back to the Iowa caucuses. Josh was my Iowa communications director.”

With a big hug and slaps on the back for Carney, Obama left the room.

Carney, who will remain at the White House until “mid-June,” says he hasn’t made specific plans for his future. “I might manage my son’s band, which is on the verge of taking off,” he joked. “I haven’t made any decisions yet.”

Carney, who had covered the White House for Time, joined the Obama administration as spokesman for Vice President Joe Biden in 2008 and replaced Gibbs as press secretary for the president in February 2011.

Earnest has often filled in as chief spokesman, particularly traveling.

Read more about Earnest here:

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