“Honestly, I find it enjoyable,” White House press secretary Jay Carney says of his most recent week in the White House’s briefing room. “I find it challenging. It’s hard, but it’s better than 45 to 60 minutes of calling on reporters who are kind of sleepy and disinterested,” he explains. ”For me personally, it has been a good week.”
The White House’s “bespectacled, baby-faced press warrior” is the subject of a NYT profile published on Saturday — and while the Times takes the opportunity to land a few jabs at Carney’s “semantic jujitsu” skills, the piece works mightily to buck up the flailing flack.
About Benghazi, for instance: “Mr. Carney is far from the center of that controversy” — a controversy spurred, in part, by his own contradictory statements (his peddling the attacks as a movie-protest-gone-wild, for example, or his explaining the State Department’s talking-points suggestions as “stylistic edits”).
Expectations are also unfairly high: “There also appears to be an unspoken expectation in the White House that Mr. Carney can somehow control the news-hungry animals with which he once shared the zoo, which is largely untrue.”
Still, don’t feel bad for the embattled press secretary: “I had 21 years in journalism,” says Carney, “that included being on Air Force One on 9/11, the Hill during impeachment, being in the Soviet Union for the collapse as a Russian speaker. As great as everything I did in Washington was, nothing met the bar of exhilaration that I felt in Moscow, until this job.”
“Exhilaration.” Is that what they’re calling it now?