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Obama Chooses New Press Secretary

Robert Gibbs (file photo)

President Barack Obama has chosen a replacement for his Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs. VOA Senior White House Correspondent Dan Robinson reports that this and other changes are part of an overall shakeup of a White House staff that will support the president during the next phase of his administration.

The press secretary serves as the president's spokesman to the media and to the nation, conducting news briefings and interviews to explain administration policies.

Robert Gibbs was more than just a spokesman. He was a close advisor to the president since 2004, before Mr. Obama became a senator from Illinois, and he served as White House press secretary from the first days of the Obama administration.

Generally well liked by reporters, Gibbs is known for his humor and banter with reporters, although he has also been criticized for playing favorites among the White House press corps.

The replacement for Gibbs, who eventually will take on a new role advising the president's 2012 reelection campaign, will be Jay Carney. He is communications director for Vice President Joe Biden and a former reporter and Washington bureau chief for Time magazine.

The announcement was made by White House Chief of Staff, William Daley, who himself is among the new team for President Obama.

Daley said Carney's appointment and other staff changes, announced Thursday, would bring "greater clarity" to the White House structure and "enhance coordination and collaboration."

The "retooling" of the White House staff in recent weeks has seen the departure of other senior advisers -- David Axelrod and Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, who are also leaving to help with Mr. Obama's reelection campaign.

The chairman of the National Economic Council, Larry Summers, was replaced by Gene Sperling. White House aides confirmed this week that Carol Browner, who has overseen climate and energy issues, will be departing.

On the national security front, two National Security Council staffers, Mike Hammer and Ben Chang, will be moving to the State Department.

Among those coming to the White House, in addition to the new chief of staff William Daley, is former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe. He is taking over Axelrod's job as chief political adviser to the president.

Robert Gibbs says his departure from the podium in the White House briefing room will take place sometime next month.