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Jay Carney

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Jay Carney
Carney in February 2011
28th White House Press Secretary
In office
February 11, 2011 – June 20, 2014
PresidentBarack Obama
DeputyJosh Earnest
Preceded byRobert Gibbs
Succeeded byJosh Earnest
Personal details
James Ferguson Carney

(1965-05-22) May 22, 1965 (age 59)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseClaire Shipman
EducationYale University (BA)

James Ferguson "Jay" Carney (born May 22, 1965) is an American public relations officer, political advisor, and journalist who served as the United States' White House Press Secretary from 2011 to 2014, and Amazon's Senior Vice President of Global Corporate Affairs from 2015 to 2022.

As President Barack Obama's chief spokesman for over three years, he remains the longest serving White House Press Secretary of the 21st century. During the first two years of the Obama administration, Carney was director of communications for then-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.

Early life and education[edit]

Jay Carney was born James Ferguson Carney.[1] Raised in Northern Virginia, Carney attended high school at the Lawrenceville School in Lawrenceville, New Jersey,[2] and earned a bachelor's degree in Russian and Eastern European studies from Yale University in 1987.[3]


Time magazine[edit]

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 to 1993, covering the collapse of the Soviet Union. He transferred to Washington, D.C., in mid-1993, to report on the Bill Clinton White House.[3] 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.[4]

White House Press Secretary[edit]

Jay Carney talks with President Obama in the Oval Office, February 17, 2011

On December 15, 2008, Carney left the private sector to take a position as director of communications to Vice President-elect Joe Biden.[5][6]

On January 27, 2011, Carney was selected to become the Obama Administration's second White House press secretary.[7] He was named the successor to previous press secretary Robert Gibbs by White House chief of staff, William M. Daley.[8][9] Carney was one of fourteen White House appointees announced by Daley on that day.[9]

Carney served as press secretary during a series of key moments in the Obama presidency, including: the so-called "Birther movement" publicized by Donald Trump and Fox News; the killing of Osama bin Laden in a raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan by U.S. special operations; Obama's announcement of his support for same-sex marriage; Obama's election to a second term; the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut; the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act, which addressed sequestration and the fiscal cliff, and raised rates on high earners while extending the Bush tax cuts for most Americans; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare; the government shutdown of October 2013; the shooting of Trayvon Martin; and the imposition of sanctions against Russia for its invasion and annexation of Crimea.

On May 30, 2014, President Barack Obama announced Carney would be succeeded by Josh Earnest. At three years, five months on the job, Carney is the longest-serving press secretary since Michael McCurry in the mid-1990s.[10]

CNN commentator[edit]

Following his stint as press secretary, Carney worked as a CNN senior political analyst, from September 2014 to February 2015.[11][12]


On March 2, 2015, Carney began working for Amazon as the senior vice president of global corporate affairs.[13] He initially managed a lobbying and public-policy group of about two dozen employees; by 2021, that had increased to about 250 employees. Between 2014 and 2020, the number of registered lobbyists for Amazon tripled, to at least 180.[14] He visited China in 2018 to promote Kindle devices and electronic books in the Chinese market.[15]

Controversial statements[edit]

Twice during the month of October 2019, Carney had to walk back controversial public comments. The first was when he contrasted the Bush and Clinton administrations with 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 had respect for countless patriots working in the United States government.[16]

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.[17]

Joining Airbnb[edit]

In July 2022, it was announced that Carney was joining Airbnb as Global Head of Policy and Communications.[18][19]


In 2003, Carney won the Gerald R. Ford prize for distinguished reporting on the presidency of the United States of America.

Personal life[edit]

Carney lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his wife, Claire Shipman. Carney serves on the board of directors of the Urban Institute, Human Rights First[20] and Tech:NYC. He is also a devoted fan of the indie rock band Guided by Voices.[21][22]


  1. ^ Allen, Mike. "Both Dem camps claim game change ... Russert on TIME cover (with 99 others) ... KKR goes green". POLITICO. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  2. ^ "Jay Carney '83 Named White House Personal Minister works to rid Obama of his sins". The Lawrenceville School. January 28, 2011. Archived from the original on July 28, 2011. Retrieved May 19, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Connolly, Katie (January 28, 2011). "James Carney: Profile of White House press secretary". BBC News. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  4. ^ Kurtz, Howard (December 16, 2008). "Time Magazine's Carney Hired as Biden Spokesman". Washington Post. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  5. ^ "Biden TIME". Time. December 15, 2008. Archived from the original on December 16, 2008. Retrieved December 27, 2010.
  6. ^ Calderone, Michael (December 15, 2008). "Stengel defends Carney's decision". Politico. Retrieved December 27, 2010.
  7. ^ Henry, Ed (January 27, 2011). "Jay Carney named White House press secretary". CNN. Retrieved January 27, 2011.
  8. ^ Mason, Jeff; Holland, Steve (January 27, 2011). "Former reporter Carney next White House spokesman". Reuters. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  9. ^ a b Knoller, Mark (January 27, 2011). "Daley, Not Obama, Announces new Press Secretary, Aides". CBS News. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  10. ^ Camia, Catalina (May 30, 2014). "White House spokesman Jay Carney resigns". USA Today. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
  11. ^ Stetler, Brian (September 10, 2014). "Jay Carney joins CNN as commentator". CNNpolitics. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
  12. ^ Allen, Mike (February 26, 2015). "Jay Carney to Amazon". Politico. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
  13. ^ Kusek, Kathleen (February 26, 2015). "Amazon Hires Ex-White House Spokesman Jay Carney". Forbes. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
  14. ^ Dastin, Jeffrey; Kirkham, Chris; Kalra, Aditya (November 19, 2021). "The Amazon lobbyists who kill U.S. consumer privacy protections". Reuters. Retrieved November 22, 2021.
  15. ^ Steve Stecklow and Jeffrey Dastin. (17 December 2021). "Amazon partnered with China propaganda arm". CNBC website Retrieved 17 December 2021.
  16. ^ Del Rey, Jason. "Amazon's top spokesperson walks back controversial comments for the second time in a month". vox.com. Vox Media, LLC. Retrieved September 30, 2020.
  17. ^ Del Rey, Jason (October 31, 2019). "Amazon's top spokesperson walks back controversial comments for the second time in a month". Recode. Vox Media.
  18. ^ "Jay Carney joins Airbnb as Global Head of Policy and Communications". Airbnb Newsroom. July 22, 2022. Retrieved July 24, 2022.
  19. ^ Dastin, Jeffrey (July 22, 2022). "Amazon executive Jay Carney to join Airbnb as policy and PR head". Reuters. Retrieved July 24, 2022.
  20. ^ "Board Archives". Human Rights First. Retrieved February 14, 2023.
  21. ^ Chris Richards (May 23, 2013). "White House press secretary Jay Carney discusses favorite band, Guided by Voices". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  22. ^ The Fire Note (May 25, 2014), Jay Carney Intro Guided By Voices in DC, archived from the original on December 14, 2021, retrieved August 3, 2017

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by White House Press Secretary
Succeeded by