Jay Carney

White House Press Secretary (2011-2014), Director of Communications Vice President Joe Biden (2009-2011) and Prominent Journalist and Washington Bureau Chief, Time Magazine (1988-2008)

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Jay Carney, CNN political commentator, has witnessed and participated in some of the most critical moments in our modern history. In August of 1991, as a young reporter for TIME magazine, he was on the streets of Moscow when a military coup overthrew Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and led to the demise of the Soviet Union. On September 11, 2001, he was one of just a handful of journalists on board Air Force One with President George W. Bush as the World Trade Center Towers collapsed. And on the night of May 1, 2011, he was in the Oval Office, serving as a top aide to Barack Obama as the President prepared to tell the nation that Osama bin Laden had been eliminated.

As White House Press Secretary from 2011 to 2014, Jay Carney was the primary spokesman for the President, the Administration and the United States during a time of epic change, constant crisis and bruising political combat. He traveled the nation and the world with President Obama, and for 3 and a half years his job was to have answers on every subject that crossed the President’s desk, from war and unrest in the Middle East to health care reform in the U.S., and from the successful re-election campaign in 2012 to the damaging leaks about eavesdropping and classified NSA practices in 2013. Throughout it all, Carney handled questions from the press with characteristic grit, humor and aplomb.

Carney ended a 20-year career at TIME in December 2008, with the announcement that he would be Vice President Joe Biden’s communications director. He held that position for the first two years of the Obama-Biden Administration. In January 2011, President Obama asked Carney to become his second, and the country’s 29th White House Press Secretary, a position Carney held for longer than any of his recent predecessors.

A native of Virginia, Carney received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University before starting a career in journalism at The Miami Herald. He joined TIME in 1988 as Miami Bureau Chief. Having studied Russian in college, he was dispatched in 1990 to Moscow, where he spent the next three years covering the historic transformation of the Soviet bloc and the collapse of the U.S.S.R. In 1993, he moved to Washington to cover the Clinton White House. He followed that with stints reporting on Congress through the impeachment and trial of President Clinton and then moved on to cover the 2000 presidential campaigns of George W. Bush and John McCain. In 2001, Carney returned for his second tour as a White House correspondent, this time covering the new President Bush. He won the 2003 Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency. He later became deputy Washington bureau chief and then, from 2005-2008, he was Washington bureau chief for TIME. He is the only former White House beat reporter to serve as White House Press Secretary.

At the surprise announcement of Carney’s decision to step down in June 2014, President Obama said, “Jay has become one of my closest friends, and is a great Press Secretary and a great advisor.  He’s got good judgment.  He has a good temperament.  And he’s got a good heart.  And I’m going to miss him a lot.  I will continue to rely on him as a friend and advisor after he leaves.”

Carney and his wife, best-selling author and ABC News contributor Claire Shipman, live in Washington, D.C., with their two children.