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Biden spokesman Jay Carney to become White House press secretary

Jay Carney, a longtime journalist before becoming the vice president's communications director, replaces Robert Gibbs as President Obama's chief spokesman.

January 27, 2011|By Peter Nicholas and James Oliphant, Washington Bureau

Reporting from Washington — Jay Carney, the spokesman for Vice President Joe Biden, will replace Robert Gibbs as President Obama's press secretary, the White House announced Thursday.

A former journalist who spent 20 years at Time magazine, Carney, 45, joined the Obama administration two years ago as communications director for the vice president. His elevation is part of a White House overhaul that has seen several other West Wing staffers promoted, as well as the departures of key aides David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel.

Gibbs, who has worked for Obama since 2004 and served as his lead spokesman during the first two years of his presidency, announced early this month he would be leaving to join the private sector, while still advising the president's reelection campaign.

The White House may view Carney, who enjoys good relationships with many members of the Washington press corps from his years as a member, as the right person to court the national media as the reelection campaign develops. The appointment also signals Biden's growing influence within the West Wing. Longtime Biden cohort Thomas Donilon became Obama's national security advisor in October.

As part of the staff shuffle, veteran strategist Stephanie Cutter will take on a new role as an aide to senior advisor David Plouffe; while Nancy-Ann DeParle, who has headed the White House's efforts on healthcare reform, and Alyssa Mastromonaco, the director of scheduling, will become deputies to new Chief of Staff William Daley. They will replace Jim Messina and Mona Sutphen, who are expected to leave for the private sector.

In addition, White House aide Rob Nabors is expected to replace Phil Schiliro as Obama's chief liaison to Congress.

Carney was chosen among a field of candidates that included Gibbs' deputy, Bill Burton, Deputy Communications Director Jen Psaki and longtime Democratic operative Karen Finney. He is married to ABC News correspondent Claire Shipman.

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