White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, who was expected to rely on his skills as a journalist to manage the press, is proving instead to not be up to the job, at least according to the Telegraph:
There is increasing concern in Washington that Jay Carney, the new White House Press Secretary, isn’t up to the job. Even when faced with an innocuous question that requires only that he trot out the official line, he looks completely stunned, as if the questioner is Bob Woodward asking him about Deep Throat. He gathers himself, embarks on a stuttering reply, pauses for what seems like an eternity, then starts gabbling, tripping over his words, rephrasing what he’s just said, then looking plaintively back at the questioner as if to say, “How did I do? Was that okay? Or would you like me to try again?”
“I think he’s doing very badly,” says a political contact based in Washington. “And I’ve heard others say that he’s really struggling.”
This was made more evident by the inability of the White House to get the story straight on the U.S. raid on Osama bid Laden’s compound last week that killed the 9/11 mastermind.
As the AP reported, the story kept changing, confusing the media and the public alike:
Killing Osama bin Laden was a big victory for the U.S., but how exactly the raid went down is another story — and another, and another.
Over two days, the White House has offered contradictory versions of events, including misidentifying which of bin Laden’s sons was killed and wrongly saying bin Laden’s wife died in gunfire, as it tries to sort through what the president’s press secretary called the “fog of combat” and produce an accurate account.
Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that officials were trying to get information out as quickly as possible about the complex event witnessed by just a handful of people, and the story line was being corrected.
The constant bumbling on this story and the deer-in-the-headlights moments that Carney has provided in just a few months was certainly far from what the Obama administration expected from its new press secretary, according to The Washington Post:
A Virginia native, he has earned a reputation in both journalism and politics for being smart and engaged – and, in his most recent capacity, for helping eliminate the image of Biden as simply a gaffe machine. While Carney has little experience with the press secretary’s job of standing on the podium to face a barrage of reporter questions, he has been on television as a journalist ample times. The White House hopes he may be able to navigate the press corps more easily having come from its ranks.
Former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs initially won over the press corps with his folksy charm but that wore off as Obama’s popularity sank along with the economy. It had become clear that the President needed a new front man to deal with the press.
The White House thought they found the perfect person in Carney, but his journalistic experience has not been able to help him defend a stumbling presidency during a fast paced news cycle.
Carney’s performance to date is so bad that Obama is probably beginning to miss Robert Gibbs.