Reporters at today's White House Daily Briefing got a couple of big surprises Friday afternoon, the first of which was President Obama's second podium appearance of the day, and the second of which was his announcement that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is resigning, to be replaced by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest.
Hours after announcing the resignation of Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, the President interrupted today's briefing to inform reporters that Jay Carney is resigning. The President said that Carney told him of the decision in April. Calling him "one of my closest friends here in Washington," Obama explained that Carney's five and a half years as an administration spokesman "placed a strain on his wife and his two wonderful kids."
The President also announced that longtime Obama spokesman and Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh earnest will replace Carney, at a date to be determined.
Following the President's remarks, Carney made a brief statement, and took one question on his resignation, before continuing the briefing. Carney said he was "excited by some of the possibilities" for his future, and called his tenure in the White House "an amazing experience.
Carney also acknowledged that the give-and-take of the briefing room "is not always pretty, it could certainly be better, but to be a part of it is an honor and a joy for me, and no matter how tough the briefing is, I walk out of here having been glad to stand here."
Coming, as it does, on the same day as Secretary Shinseki's resignation, Carney's departure may seem to be overshadowed, or may even be given added significance. Judging by the way today was scheduled out by the White House, it's my guess that today's announcement about Carney was already on the docket when the Shinseki ouster came up, and knowing Carney, he likely welcomed the opportunity to become the below-the-fold story.