At a Glance
- Career History:
Director of Communications for Vice President
(January 2009 to January 2011); Washington bureau chief, Time magazine (2005 to 2008); Washington assistant bureau chief, Time magazine (2003 to 2005); Washington reporter (1993 to 2003)
- Hometown: Virginia
- Alma Mater: Yale University, B.A. (Eastern European studies), 1987
- Spouse: Claire Shipman
Path to Power
Carney was born in Virginia. He earned his B.A. in Russian and Eastern European studies from Yale University in 1987.
After graduation, he took a job as a reporter for the Miami Herald. He moved to Time in 1989 as an international correspondent. He travelled to Havana to cover Mikhail Gorbachev's visit in 1989 and reported on the U.S. military operation in Panama the same year.
Vice President Biden is known for his verbal gaffes and slip-ups, and his communications director will have to keep the vice president in line. In fact, Carney has observed this himself. He once said Biden is "incredibly prone to say the wrong thing" and told a reporter on MSNBC that Biden has said the wrong thing "throughout his career he's smart, but he speaks -- shoots from the hip."
Carney has occasionally inflamed conservatives, as when he attacked McCain spokeswoman Nicolle Wallace for defending the lack of access to Gov. Sarah Palin (R) during the 2008 presidential campaign. Carney wrote that "in her smug dismissal of the media's role in asking questions of the candidates, Wallace was really showing contempt not for reporters, but for voters."
Carney is married to Claire Shipman, the senior correspondent for ABC News. In the press secretary job, he'll work closely with Communications Director Daniel Pfeiffer.
In his 15 years in Washington, he has made a series of high-profile friends, including Antony Blinken, Biden's national security adviser who convinced him to take the job. He worked with Elizabeth Alexander in Biden's press shop.