White House press secretary Jay Carney is leaving his post and his No. 2 is taking over.

President Barack Obama announced Carney's departure in a surprise appearance at in the White House press briefing room Friday. He said principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest will take over the job.

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Obama called Carney one of his closest friends and a great press secretary whom he said will continue to rely on as an outside adviser.

The president said Carney plans to take the summer off before getting a new job.