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Update 2:40 p.m. EDT: Carney said he will most likely leave the White House sometime in “mid-June.”
During the announcement, President Barack Obama praised Carney for holding the post for more than three years and called him one of his “closest friends” in Washington.
“I’m going to miss him a lot,” Obama added.
Carney, 49, who previously served as the director of communications for Vice President Joe Biden, was silent on his future plans, but ruled out speculation that he would accept the vacant post of U.S. ambassador to Moscow.
“I can assure you that my family, having won me back, would not be happy with that outcome,” he said.
Carney is a former Time magazine correspondent and is married to ABC reporter Claire Shipman.
Press Secretary Jay Carney is leaving the White House, President Barack Obama announced Friday in a surprise appearance.
The president’s chief spokesman will be replaced by Josh Earnest, who held the title of special assistant to the president.
Carney was the 29th White House press secretary and the second under Obama, having replaced Robert Gibbs in February 2011.