Skip to comments.Parlor game: What's next for Jay Carney?
Posted on 05/30/2014 5:09:48 PM PDT by Second Amendment First
White House press secretaries hustle for the president. Then a lot of them go on to do the same thing for special interests.
The Washington parlor game Friday: Will outgoing press secretary Jay Carney do the same?
Since the start of the Clinton administration, five of the last nine press secretaries landed softly in the world of corporate communications for a large multinational company or with a public affairs firm.
(QUIZ: How well do you know Jay Carney?)
The lucrative line of work relies on in-town connections and insider knowledge of an administration. It looks and feels a lot like lobbying just dont call it that, since none of the formal rules apply.
Obama announced Friday that Carney will step down from the podium in June. And while it is unclear what Carney will do next, many insiders say that if he wants to join the world of influence, he certainly could.
Press secretaries by definition have a public affairs background that would lead them into that kind of civilian position, said Marlin Fitzwater, who served as press secretary for both George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. As a result, press secretaries tend to go work for either with companies that are hiring public affairs people, or Washington PR firms who want the combination of public relation experience plus access to the White House or government in general, he said.
(Also on POLITICO: Twitter lights up at Carney announcement)
Clinton press secretary Jake Siewert now serves as global head of corporate communications for Goldman Sachs, after doing a stint at Alcoa. Dee Dee Myers recently accepted a job to head communications for Warner Bros. She also did a stint consulting for the hit NBC show The West Wing.
And the public affairs field a cross between public relations and lobbying is crowded with ex-White House spokespersons.
Carneys predecessor Robert Gibbs founded The Incite Agency with Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt. (Obama famously called Gibbs $172,000-a-year salary as White House press secretary modest in an interview with The New York Times.)
Clinton White House press secretary Mike McCurry works at the lobbying and public affairs firm Public Strategies Washington whose CEO and founder recently played a round of golf with Obama.
(WATCH: Best of Jay Carney)
Myers and fellow former Clinton spokesman Joe Lockhart have long been affiliated with the Glover Park Group a huge public relations, public affairs and lobbying operation that does work for corporate and nonprofit clients. Lockhart co-founded the firm, while Myers served as a managing director until recently. Lockhart also did a stint at Facebook before returning to the firm he founded in 2013.
The one thing White House press secretaries have largely avoided? Outright lobbying. Though the Glover Park Group has a lobbying arm, Myers and Lockhart have never registered to lobby. McCurry registered to lobby briefly during his stint at Public Strategies in 2006 to represent a coalition called Hands Off The Internet. Other than that, White House press secretaries have stayed away from K Street.
Id say the skill sets are similar in that you have to have a good grasp of policy, to know the different variations and nuances of the various policies that are being discussed. But the audiences are different, said David Urban, a veteran Republican lobbyist with the bipartisan firm American Continental Group.
Urban said that most press secretaries have no affinity for working the halls of Capitol Hill and schmoozing members of Congress. Their interests are usually in framing issues and developing a media plan for clients. Thats a similar skill set to what lobbyists do but a different tactical approach.
I just think its the same highway but different side, Urban said.
But critics say that public affairs and public relations can essentially be unregistered lobbying especially when done on behalf of corporate clients or special interest groups.
Public affairs is providing that sort of communication to officeholders that is often done on behalf of special interests. It really is a form of lobbying, said Craig Holman, a lobbyist for the watchdog group Public Citizen. Its a very natural revolving door.
And the rise of White House press secretaries to superstardom in Washington, D.C., is a recent phenomenon.
I did not find that press secretaries generally get offered big jobs or big salaries because of their experience, said Fitzwater, the veteran of the Bush and Reagan White Houses. In his day, companies werent necessarily hunting for candidates with deep levels of Washington experience.
They didnt see presidential press secretary experience germane to the way that they run their businesses, he said.
And certainly the world of influence is not Carneys only option.
One former White House press secretary told POLITICO that offers for paid speaking engagements, book deals, corporate and public relations job offers and even opportunities in Hollywood start rolling in almost immediately.
Carney, a former Time magazine reporter, could also follow in the footsteps of Dana Perino and George Stephanopoulos both of whom have become full-time media personalities after their stints behind the podium.
Either way, Carney, 49, is likely to have his pick of career options as he ponders his next big move.
It was surreal, recalled former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer. Upon announcing his resignation in 2003, he was flooded with opportunities and engagements all before his departure was even finalized.
I had faxes offering me paid speeches. I had a fax from a publisher offering a huge advance for a book, Fleischer said. Some Hollywood people called me and talked to me about becoming my agents.
Fleischer said that celebrities and big shots who never would have taken notice of him prior to his White House days came calling about opportunities of all kinds from film to books to speaking gigs to jobs.
Fleischer ended up taking a different path than many former White House flacks. He left Washington, D.C., to found a sports communications firm headquartered in White Plains, N.Y. Hes represented Major League Baseball, the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association and several major sports figures helping with their crisis communications, image management and media needs.
He can spend his days eating those gigantic breakfasts his wife apparently cooks for him every morning.
One of the lefty cable news programs ... the learning curve would be short.
HAPPY COUPLE: Carney will be able to spend more time with his wife, ABC News journalist Claire Shipman, and their two children
A member of Team Hillary 2016? (Barf)
A tell all lie.
First thing is take a shower for a week to wash the stench of all those lies off.
Like Baghdad Bob!
My guess is Carney will be lawyering up. The whoppers he told over Benghazi will likely get him.hauled before the committee.
Snake oil salesman at the carny.
remake of “What’s My Line?”
If he told you his plans would you believe him?
“at the carny”
Geek biting the heads off of chickens.
Reprise of a Jon Lovitz character on SNL?
What commie organization will he be working for?
“Parlor game: What’s next for Jay Carney?”
Hawking Veg-o-matics and Pocket Fisherman on late night TV?
Didn’t know he was married to Claire Shipman.
Didn’t know she had such man-hands.