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|26th White House Press Secretary|
February 11, 2011 – June 20, 2014
|Preceded by||Robert Gibbs|
|Succeeded by||Josh Earnest|
James Ferguson Carney
(1965-05-22) May 22, 1965
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Claire Shipman ( m. 1998)
|Education||Yale University (BA)|
James Ferguson Carney (born May 22, 1965) is the former White House press secretary to President Barack Obama. He served as press secretary from January 2011 through June 2014. For the first two years of Obama’s presidency, Carney was director of communications for Vice President Joe Biden. Prior to his government service, Carney worked for 20 years at Time Magazine, and was the magazine’s Washington bureau chief from 2005 to 2008. As a Washington-based reporter, Carney appeared frequently on various political talk shows, including This Week with George Stephanopoulos for ABC News.
Carney has been the senior vice president of global corporate affairs at Amazon since March 2, 2015. He oversees public policy and public relations for all of Amazon’s businesses around the world and reports to CEO and founder Jeff Bezos.
Early life and education
Jay Carney was born James Ferguson Carney. Raised in Northern Virginia, Carney attended high school at The Lawrenceville School, in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, and earned a bachelor's degree in Russian and Eastern European studies from Yale University in 1987.
After working as a reporter for The Miami Herald, in his first job after college, Carney joined Time magazine as the Miami bureau chief, in December 1988. A Russian speaker, he worked as a correspondent in Time's Moscow bureau for three years, from 1990-1993, covering the collapse of the U.S.S.R.. He transferred to Washington, D.C., in mid-1993, to report on the Bill Clinton White House. He covered Clinton’s first term, the Newt Gingrich-led GOP Congress and Clinton’s impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives. He was a traveling correspondent on the 2000 presidential campaigns of Texas Governor George W. Bush and Senator John McCain, and White House correspondent for Bush’s first term as president. Carney was one of a few reporters who were aboard Air Force One with President Bush on September 11, 2001. Carney was Time’s Washington bureau deputy chief from 2003 to 2005 and then bureau chief, from September 2005 until December 2008.
White House Press Secretary
On January 27, 2011, Carney was selected to become the Obama Administration's second White House press secretary. He was named the successor to previous White House press secretary Robert Gibbs by White House chief of staff, William M. Daley. Carney was one of fourteen White House appointees announced by Daley on that day.
Carney served as press secretary during a series of key moments in the Obama presidency, including: the so-called "Birther movement" publicized by Donald J. Trump and Fox News; the elimination of Osama bin Laden by U.S. special operations; Obama’s announcement of his support for gay marriage; Obama’s election to a second term; the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut; the passage of the American Tax Relief Act, which raised rates on high earners while extending tax breaks for most Americans; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare; the government shutdown of October 2013; the shooting of Trayvon Martin; and the imposition of sanctions against Russia for its invasion and occupation of Crimea.
On May 30, 2014, President Barack Obama announced Carney would be succeeded by Josh Earnest. At 3 years, 5 months on the job, Carney is the longest-serving press secretary since Michael McCurry in the mid-1990s.
Twice during the month of October 2019, Carney had to walk back public controversial comments. The first was made during a technical conference in Seattle, where he compared the Bush and Clinton administrations to the Trump administration. Carney said, "Virtually with no exception, everyone I dealt with in those administrations, whether I personally agreed or disagreed with what they thought were the right policy decisions or the right way to approach things, I never doubted that they were patriots,” he said. “I don’t feel that way now." He later walked back the comments with a tweet saying he has respect for countless patriots working in the United States government.
During the sixth game of the 2019 World Series, Carney sent out a tweet complaining about the officiating of the game. Carney tweeted that the officiating was a "disgrace," dubbing the umpires "a bunch of overweight, diabetic, half-blind geriatrics." He apologized the following day.
In 2003, Carney won the Gerald R. Ford prize for distinguished reporting on the presidency of the United States of America.
Carney lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Claire Shipman, a best-selling author and former correspondent for ABC News, NBC News and CNN, and their two children. He is a devoted fan of the indie rock band Guided By Voices.
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