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Biden Aide Jay Carney to Replace Robert Gibbs as White House Press Secretary

WASHINGTON -- Vice President Joe Biden's communications director will become the next White House press secretary.

Jay Carney, a former Time magazine reporter, will replace Robert Gibbs as the chief spokesman and one of the most public faces of the administration.

Sources say Carney, 45, impressed President Obama, new chief of staff Bill Daley and senior advisor David Plouffe during the interview process.

Biden also pushed hard for Carney, who has personal relationships with many journalists in Washington that extend well beyond his years in the Obama administration.

While sources said the White House had serious interest in finding a woman to serve as the president's top spokesperson, Carney "hit it out of the park" during the interview process.

Carney's interest in the job is a turnaround from March 2006, when he was asked by C-Span about the role of White House press secretary.

"The best, best press secretaries were very deft at serving both their boss, the president, the White House, the administration, and the press, and-and not, it's a tricky job, I'm sure I wouldn't be any good at it," he said at the time.

The decision is part of a package of new personnel changes at the White House. Daley announced the changes in an e-mail to staff on Thursday, saying they would offer more clarity and coordination to Obama's operation.

"I look forward to working with all of you -- those in existing roles as well as those filling new roles -- in the weeks and months ahead," Daley wrote. "We have a great team."

Among the other moves: White House officials Alyssa Mastromonaco and Nancy-Ann DeParle will be promoted to deputy chief of staff positions. Rob Nabors will replace Phil Schiliro as the president's legislative director.

In choosing Carney, Obama went with someone who is inside his circle yet also seen to understand the needs of the White House press corps as a former member of its ranks. Carney built his career as a reporter, covering the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush for Time and rising to the position of the magazine's Washington bureau chief. He is married to Claire Shipman, a senior correspondent at ABC News.

Carney will not hold the type of counselor role to the president that Gibbs has formed over years by serving as a top aide to Obama from the time the president was a state senator in Illinois and all through his run for the White House. But Carney will be given every access he needs to the president and other decision-makers within the White House so he is in position to speak with full authority to reporters, the official told the AP.

The other candidates given serious consideration for the job include three members of Obama's press operation: deputy press secretary Bill Burton, well-known for standing behind the briefing podium on days when Gibbs did not; Josh Earnest, a fellow deputy press secretary; and Jen Psaki, the deputy communications director. The official said the president has deep respect and affection for all of them.

The White House also gave a hard look at Karen Finney, a longtime Democratic strategist who works as a political analyst on MSNBC, and Doug Hattaway, a Democratic communications consultant who formerly served as a top press aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Fox News' Mike Emanuel and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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