Some of the most memorable moments from the daily White House press briefings in the Obama administration have featured Press Secretary Jay Carney and ABC News’s Jonathan Karl. Recall the “your mocking is entertaining” moment from November.
The Washington Post has a look at the relationship between the two:
In an exchange of e-mails on the topic, Carney brushes off questions about his relationship with, and reaction to, Karl this way: “Answering tough questions is part of the job.” He declined to respond to follow-up questions.
Karl is more expansive. In an interview last week, he said there is a method to his approach. “I believe we have to be willing to ask tough questions but also not always be willing to accept a non-answer,” he said. “When the answer is not responsive, I think we have a duty to continue to push. I don’t see it as going in there to be confrontational [but] as being pretty insistent about getting straight answers.”
As for Carney’s pushback, Karl said: “I take none of it personally. We are in a pressure-filled environment where the stakes are high. Jay is a pro.”
As professional combatants go, Carney, 48, and Karl, 45, are a well-matched pair. Karl is a respected, veteran Washington journalist (he spent eight years at CNN before joining ABC in 2003), as was Carney when he left his post as Time’s Washington bureau chief to become Vice President Biden’s communications director in late 2008. The two men are physically so similar — mild-looking, sandy-haired, bespectacled — that they could be related.
In fact, outside the office, Karl says he and Carney are good friends; their relationship dates to the Bill Clinton era.