- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 27, 2011

President Obama will tap former journalist and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s spokesman Jay Carney to replace longtime press secretary Robert Gibbs when he steps down from the podium in mid-February.

Mr. Carney, who has served as Mr. Biden’s communications director for two years, joined the administration after a long career at Time magazine, where he most recently served as Washington bureau chief.

Mr. Gibbs confirmed his departure this month. He said he simply needed a break after nearly seven years, starting when Mr. Obama was the Democratic candidate for Senate in Illinois.

The Alabama native, who has a penchant for pastel ties and going toe-to-toe with reporters, plans to become an outside political adviser to the president.

With Mr. Carney, Mr. Obama is moving beyond his inner circle while staying within the broader White House fold. The new press secretary is not expected to have the same level of presidential access as Mr. Gibbs, but he does have experience as a former member of the White House press corps.

Newly minted White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley announced Mr. Carney’s appointment, along with a series of other personnel moves, in an e-mail to staff on Thursday. The administration is undergoing a staff shake-up as the president contends with a newly divided Congress and prepares to ramp up his re-election campaign.

As Mr. Biden’s spokesman, Mr. Carney, 45, has not conducted the same kinds of daily press briefings that Mr. Gibbs has led for the past two years. He was selected over a number of other candidates, including deputy presidential press secretary Bill Burton, who has frequently filled in for Mr. Gibbs.

Mr. Daley also announced the promotions of Nancy-Ann DeParle and Alyssa Mastromonaco as deputy chiefs of staff and Rob Nabors as director of legislative operations.

The exodus of top-level White House staffers began last summer with the departures of key members of Mr. Obama’s economic team, including budget director Peter R. Orszag and economists Christina Romer and Lawrence H. Summers. They were followed most notably by Rahm Emanuel, who stepped down as chief of staff last fall to pursue a bid for Chicago mayor.

The exits also have included members of Mr. Obama’s national security team. Gen. James L. Jones was replaced by his deputy, Tom Donilon, after stepping down as national security director in October.