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As White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney Was Cool Under Pressure

June 2, 2014

[AP/Wide World Photos]
[AP/Wide World Photos]

During his tenure as White House press secretary, Jay Carney stayed confident and composed even while being grilled about controversial developments within the Obama administration like the health care rollout, revelations of NSA surveillance, and the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

As Politico reports, Carney, who stepped down Friday, frustrated reporters by often countering or stonewalling, but he rarely left his boss vulnerable. A journalist and White House bureau chief for Time before becoming press secretary, he quickly showed reporters they wouldn't get any kid gloves from their erstwhile colleague.

“For the most part, he kept his cool and made remarkably few mistakes — quite a feat considering all the White House has been through since he took the job,” says Jon Karl, the ABC News senior White House correspondent who often clashed with Carney on camera at daily briefings.

Mark Knoller, White House correspondent for CBS News Radio, says Carney “was not shy about telling reporters when he thought we were off-base on a story.”

Dan Pfeiffer, a senior assistant to President Barack Obama, says “In an age when reporters are tweeting analysis of the briefing as it happens and always looking for some potential gaffe, the podium part of the job has never been more important or more difficult.” And even while staying poised himself, Carney also “helped us better understand the pressures the reporters in the briefing room are under.” — Greg Beaubien


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