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Key White House personnel resign

By AP | Last updated: Jun 5, 2014 - 10:22:57 AM

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WASHINGTON - White House press secretary Jay Carney became the news instead of just delivering it May 30, when President Barack Obama unexpectedly interrupted the daily media briefing to announce  Jay Carney’s resignation after three and a half years as his primary spokesman.

President Obama said it was “bittersweet” to see his friend Mr. Carney step down and announced that principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest will take over the job. Mr. Carney said the ultimate transition will take place around mid-June, but Mr. Earnest will take his place traveling next week on President Obama’s trip to Europe.

Mr. Carney brought rare but practical experience to the job as a former reporter who once covered the White House for Time magazine. He left journalism to become communications director for Vice President Joe Biden and subsequently moved over to serve as President Obama’s press secretary in 2011.

A key component of a White House press secretary’s job is to regularly joust with reporters in an intense question-and-answer session. President Obama said he is putting the “flak jacket” for dealing with the press on another friend in Mr. Earnest, who has worked with the president since he was his communications director for the Iowa caucuses in the 2008 campaign.

It was Mr. Obama’s second appearance in the briefing room May 30 to announce a resignation, the first being under much more somber circumstances as Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki left under pressure due to widespread problems plaguing the agency’s health care system. President Obama said Mr. Carney’s job has put a strain on his family and the press secretary told him in April that he’s been wrestling with the decision whether to leave for some time.

(Compiled from Associated Press reports.)