New White House Press Chief Finds Humor on the Job
by Sonny Day
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 9, 2011 — President Obama's new press secretary said today his new job has been "a barrel of laughs."
"Some people might think this is a humorless gig," said Jay Carney, who has been the White House spokesman since Feb. 17. "But I find something to laugh about every day. I just don't understand why Bobby Gibbs was so uptight."
Carney said his secretary, Cheri Pitt, gave him some good advice when he took the job.
"She said my job was a joke," Carney said. "The more I thought about it, the more I knew she was right. I've been laughing ever since.
"Honestly, who would think I could get paid for trying to convince reporters that if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a donkey."
The spokesman said he particularly enjoys seeing the reaction of news reporters when they hear that President Obama has abandoned another campaign promise to adopt a position previously held by Republicans.
"Just this week I got to announce that President Obama decided to resume military trials of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba," he said. "You should have seen the look on David Gregory's face. He looked like I had just run over his pet turtle. I just couldn't hold it together after that."
Carney said the years he spent as a Times magazine reporter, learning to throw a liberal spin on news events, prepared him well for his new job. But he never realized how hard it could be to keep a straight face while presenting propaganda before a live audience.
"Just last week President Obama decided to open military oil reserves," he said. "I tried to tell the national press that this move had nothing to do with the price of gasoline, but I just lost it. It was just hilarious. Everybody knows the president had said opening the reserves would keep prices down. I got a case of the giggles so bad that I had to have the White House EMTs give me oxygen."
He said that most members of the White House press corps have an excellent sense of humor.
"Sometimes the whole press gallery has a laughing fit," he said, "and we have to turn off the cameras while they get their composure. That happened when I told them that global warming was the cause of the record bad winter and again when I said that President Obama's budget would cut spending."
Carney said he gets so many laughs that he is considering another career in stand-up comedy after his stint ends in 2012.
"I'll probably have to move to L.A. or New York," he said. "In Washington there are already plenty of clowns and jokers."
Quote of the Day
"Q: What’s the difference between Obama’s cabinet and a penitentiary?
"A: One is filled with tax evaders, blackmailers, and threats to society. The other is for housing prisoners." — David Letterman.