Former White House press secretary Jay Carney has joined CNN in the capacity of political commentator, the network announced today. In a canned statement on the move, CNN Washington Bureau Chief Sam Feist said, “Jay’s unique experience as both a journalist and a White House press secretary make him an invaluable voice for the network as we cover the final two years of the Obama Administration and look ahead to the coming campaigns.” He added, “We’re fortunate to have Jay on our air tonight to provide analysis and insight surrounding the President’s address to the nation.”

Carney, who stepped away from the podium as press secretary in June, is returning to his roots. Before joining the Obama administration, he had spent two decades at Time magazine in a variety of positions, including Washington bureau chief. He also joins a growing band of Obamaites in cable television: Former advisers Robert Gibbs and David Axelrod have gigs with MSNBC/NBC.

Will Carney get on the air and mouth the same Obama defenses that he laid out as press secretary? Who on earth knows. The Erik Wemple Blog isn’t going to prejudge the former press secretary before he utters a single word on CNN. That said, Carney may face a steeper challenge in spewing independent analysis than other partisans who have appeared on the cable dial. Not only did he stride the Obama corridors, but he also had a close relationship with the president himself. As President Obama himself said upon Carney’s resignation, “Jay has become one of my closest friends and is a great press secretary. I’m going to miss him a lot.”

We’ll be watch-dogging this guy, as will all of Washington: