US & Canada

White House spokesman Jay Carney steps down

White House press secretary Jay Carney speaks during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington 29 May 2014 Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Carney was previously Vice-President Joe Biden's press secretary

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is stepping down after three years as Barack Obama's chief spokesman, the president has said.

Mr Carney, a former journalist, will be succeeded by his deputy Josh Earnest.

Mr Carney, 49, previously served as press secretary for Vice-President Joe Biden after leaving Time Magazine.

Mr Obama announced the change in a surprise appearance at the daily White House press briefing, calling Mr Carney one of his "closest friends".

"He came to this place with a reporter's perspective, and that's why, believe it or not, I think he will miss hanging out with you," Mr Obama told reporters.

"I'm going to miss him a lot, and rely on him as a friend, and as an adviser."

The US president quipped that Mr Earnest's name "describes his demeanour".

"You can't find a nicer individual, even outside of Washington," Mr Obama said of Mr Earnest.