WASHINGTON — White House press secretary Jay Carney became the news instead of just delivering it Friday, when President Barack Obama unexpectedly interrupted the daily media briefing to announce Carney's resignation after 3½ years as his primary spokesman.
Obama said it was "bittersweet" to see his friend step down, and he announced that principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest will take over the job. Carney said the ultimate transition will take place around mid-June, but Earnest will take his place traveling next week on Obama's trip to Europe.
Earnest has a Tampa Bay connection. In 2006, he was communications director for Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Davis' unsuccessful run for governor of Florida.
Carney 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 Obama's press secretary in 2011.
Obama said Carney's job has put a strain on his family, and the press secretary told him in April that he had been wrestling with the decision to leave for some time.
Carney said he's made no decision yet on his next step but plans to take the summer off before starting a new job. He ruled out rumors that he would serve as ambassador to Russia, after having covered the collapse of the Soviet Union for Time. He said his wife, ABC News correspondent Claire Shipman, and two children wouldn't welcome such a move.