Jay Carney’s Farewell Love Letter

“It’s always a pleasure no matter how hard it gets here, how hot it can be, and contentious as it sometimes is.”

National Journal
Brian Resnick
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Brian Resnick
June 18, 2014, 10:02 a.m.

Even on his last day — work­ing in a po­s­i­tion that is re­garded as one of the most gruel­ing jobs in the White House — Jay Car­ney didn’t get a pass from the press corps.

The first ques­tion he fielded after giv­ing his thanks moved quickly away from his de­par­ture:

“On be­half of my col­leagues, con­grat­u­la­tions on mak­ing it to your last brief­ing,” a White House cor­res­pond­ent said. “If we can get to Ir­aq, the pres­id­ent is meet­ing with law­makers this af­ter­noon. Is he go­ing to be in a po­s­i­tion to tell the law­makers his de­cisions … “

Which un­der­scores an ob­vi­ous point: Jay Car­ney’s job is big­ger than Jay Car­ney. He might leave, but the is­sues will re­main, the press corp will re­main. He’s just one re­place­able cog in a fun­da­ment­al Amer­ic­an in­sti­tu­tion. But serving in the job for three years — which is longer than any of his pre­de­cessors in the past 20 years — has per­haps lent him as good a per­spect­ive on the re­la­tion­ship between the press and White House as any­body.

His farewell:

As I think most of you now un­der­stand and be­lieve, it’s al­ways a pleas­ure no mat­ter how hard it gets here, how hot it can be, and con­ten­tious as it some­times is. You know the pres­id­ent — to many of us — said of the jobs we have here in the White House, most of us will nev­er be in a po­s­i­tion to do more good for more people as we are in now. We should take ad­vant­age of it. And that is something that we all take to heart. I don’t ever ex­pect to be in a po­s­i­tion again to be a part of something that has at least the po­ten­tial to do more good for more people. That’s been a spe­cial thing, in­deed. I loved my years as a re­port­er…. Re­port­ing some­times can be an autonom­ous ex­er­cise. It’s your story, your byline. What was so dif­fer­ent about the [White House] ex­per­i­ence for me is it was all about a team ef­fort and all about a goal that had noth­ing to do with any in­di­vidu­al, not even the pres­id­ent. That’s been ex­traordin­ar­ily grat­i­fy­ing to be a part of.

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