After more than three years as President Obama's top spokesman, White House press secretary Jay Carney is departing the administration, the president announced on Friday.
Appearing with Carney during his daily press briefing, Mr. Obama praised his spokesman as "one of my closest friends and a great press secretary."
Before he became White House press secretary, Carney was the communications director for Vice President Joe Biden. Prior to his service in the administration, he was Time Magazine's Washington bureau chief.
"He's got a good heart, and I'm going to miss him a lot," the president said of Carney. "I will continue to rely on him as a friend and as an adviser."
Reflecting on his time at the White House, Carney said, "you don't often make a whole new set of friends" as an adult. "And that's certainly what I have been lucky enough to get over these last five and a half years," he added.
The job is "not always pretty," he conceded, "but to be a part of it is an honor and a joy for me. And no matter how tough the briefing is, I walk out of here having been glad to stand here."
The president also announced that he'd selected Carney's deputy, Josh Earnest, to take the top spokesman's job. Mr. Obama praised Earnest as a "straight shooter and a great guy."
"Today, the flak jacket is officially passed to a new generation," the president joked. "My request is be nice to Jay on his farewell tour and be nice to Josh during his initiation, which I'm sure will last two days, or perhaps two questions."
Carney later explained he hasn't decided when his final day at the White House will be, though it will be in the coming weeks.
"We haven't got a date set," Carney told reporters. "But I'm looking at mid-June, second or third week, around then."
And what happens after he leaves?
"Well, I might manage my son's band, which is on the verge of taking off," he joked. "But I haven't made any decisions yet. I've managed, over the past months, to have some conversations about what my future might look like, and I'm excited by some of the possibilities."