Staff Shakeup at the White House
The White House announced more than a dozen staffing changes, including a new press secretary. Can the new team solve the messaging problem?
The times are a’changing at the White House, with more than a dozen new staffing changes announced on Thursday.
Jay Carney, communications director for Vice President Biden and a former Time magazine reporter, will replace Robert Gibbs as White House press secretary. Carney was one of several names swirling around the Beltway for the past few weeks, along with African-American contenders including 33-year-old deputy press secretary Bill Burton and Democratic consultant Karen Finney.
I’ll admit – I was hopeful about the prospect of seeing the nation’s first black press secretary, but Carney is a solid choice. With his media background, the interplay in the White House briefing room should at least be interesting. Gibbs, meanwhile, will step down next month to work on the Obama reelection campaign.
Two new deputy chiefs of staff, both women, were also appointed: current head of the White House Office of Health Reform Nancy-Ann DeParle and director of Scheduling and Advance Alyssa Mastromonaco.
This latest staffing shakeup comes right on the heels of other high-profile additions to the Obama team, such as chief of staff Bill Daley and senior advisor David Plouffe.
President Obama, no doubt, expects that the newly assembled group will do a better job at messaging – something that he admitted, after the midterm elections, has been a problem. Slow-footed responses, losing control of the health care debate, and feebly getting out the word on bona fide accomplishments, to name a few.
With Congressional Democrats voted out at historic proportions back in November, it’ll be on the new lineup to carry out a new-and-improved strategy.
Cynthia Gordy is the Washington reporter for The Root.