Obama Mouthpiece Jay Carney Is Getting Out of That Stuffy Briefing Room

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Photo: whitehouse.gov

President Obama announced today that Press Secretary Jay Carney is stepping down, following VA Secretary Eric Shinseki out the door at the White House in the second big personnel change of the afternoon. As far as we know so far, this one has no scandal attached.

Carney, a former Washington bureau chief for Time, joined the administration in early 2011, replacing Robert Gibbs, after working as communications director for Vice President Joe Biden. Today, Obama called Carney "one of my closest friends."

Carney's deputy and special assistant to the president Josh Earnest will be taking over soon, although a date has not yet been set. Originally from Kansas City, Missouri — "He still roots for the Royals, I guess," Obama teased — Earnest has been around since Iowa in 2007, where he served as communication director. "His name describes his demeanor," the president said today. We'll see about that.

This is what Earnest looks like — get used to it:

White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest speaks during a daily briefing on August 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Earnest stressed the administration's desire that UN investigators be granted access in Syria to determine whether chemical weapons were in fact used by the Asad regime. Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images

Perhaps we should have seen the change coming: Carney let down his hair over the weekend, introducing Guided by Voices at D.C.'s Black Cat in a T-shirt:

And, for old time's sake, here he is hard at work, making reporters miserable: