Tales from the Trail

New White House press secretary Carney sounds a few familiar notes

President Barack Obama’s new press secretary, Jay Carney, took a few phrases out of his predecessor’s playbook during his first stint at the White House podium.

It turns out that he, like Robert Gibbs, is not an economist. And he doesn’t want to speculate. And he refers you to the (insert relevant department here) for further details on questions that were not entirely on his radar. USA/

Despite those familiar dodges — “I’m not an economist” was a favorite line of Gibbs — Carney did show up prepared on Wednesday.

He called nearly all of the reporters in the first three rows of the press room by name.

He handled questions ranging from Obama’s fiscal 2012 budget to his philosophies on presidential news conferences.

Market drop reveals secret of White House podium: it doesn’t do real-time news

The stock market was dropping quickly, down more than 900 points for a bit, and market reports were citing Greece’s financial troubles. The White House briefing was in full swing.

Reporters facing President Barack Obama’s press secretary found they had up-to-minute information that Robert Gibbs did not.

OBAMA/One reporter asked about the stock market’s drop below 10,000 ”in the last few seconds, while you’ve been talking.” Gibbs had no immediate answer. “Let me go find out. You guys have — I’m going to start bringing my computer.”

The White House Rose Garden strategy

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs succumbed to spring fever and held his daily news briefing out in the sun-splashed Rose Garden today.

OBAMA/A few dozen reporters and maybe a squirrel or two squinted their way through about an hour of Q and A with Gibbs, who advised that he had put on three layers of sunblock before exposing his pale skin to the sun.

“This will not be a regular thing. I just thought it’s been a long winter and why not get outside and have a little fun for once in a while,” he said.