Outgoing White House press secretary Jay Carney says he felt “liberated” when he left Time magazine to work for the Obama administration. At a breakfast with reporters sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor a block from the White House Thursday morning, Carney was asked about his transition from journalist to political spokesman and the lessons he learned. He said after years of being a straight reporter, he was relieved to be able to speak on behalf of an administration with which he agreed on issues.
“I didn’t feel like I had a straitjacket on when I took this job,” Carney said. “I felt liberated.”
The 49-year-old said he also enjoyed working for President Obama, with whom he had so much in common. “One of the reasons why I found it so easy to work with him and have developed a relationship with him is that we’re not unalike, which is pretty interesting,” Carney said. “He’s three-and-a-half years older than I am, he has kids a little older than mine. And temperamentally, intellectually, experientially, I felt a lot in common with him.”
Carney dismissed the idea that Obama is aloof or unlikable, saying it didn’t match with his personal experience with the president. Unlike other presidents, he argued, Obama was a “fully formed person” by the time he got to Washington.
“He’s not an individual person or a politician who is reactive to the emotions and the swing of everyday politics in Washington,” Carney said.
Carney is being replaced in the job of press secretary by Josh Earnest.