WASHINGTON -- President Obama said Friday that White House press secretary Jay Carney will be stepping down from his job and be replaced by deputy Josh Earnest.
"It's been an amazing experience," Carney said after Obama's announcement. "Just so fulfilling."
Carney said he will stay on until at least mid-June.
Praising his outgoing press secretary, Obama described Carney as one of his best friends and said he would continue to rely on him as an outside adviser.
Obama described Earnest, his incoming spokesman, as "honest and full of integrity" and "a straight shooter." He said Earnest's name "describes his demeanor."
Earnest -- "his name describes his demeanor," the president said -- has been an aide to Obama since the early days of his 2008 presidential campaign. "Josh and I have an incredible history going all the way back to the Iowa caucuses," Obama said.
Carney, a former Washington bureau chief for Time magazine, has been White House press secretary since 2011, when he replaced Robert Gibbs. Carney had been communications director for Vice President Biden during the first two years of the Obama administration.
The press secretary's departure drew some political reaction. The National Republican Congressional Committee tweeted: "Tired of talking your way out of too many scandals, #JayCarney? Sign our farewell card."
Carney, who spoke for the White House on items ranging from the death of Osama bin Laden to the current criticism of VA hospitals, said it has been honor to be the president's press secretary.
"I'm not saying it's easy every day but I love it," Carney said. "It's an important interaction that takes place here ...To be a part of it is an honor and a joy for me."
Carney told reporters he does not know what he will do next. But the former Moscow bureau chief for Time ruled out speculation that he would seem the vacant post of ambassador to Russia.
"I can assure you that my family, having won me back, would not be happy with that outcome," he said.