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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

May 16, 2013 - 12:32 pm

New State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki began conducting the daily press briefings this week, taking over from acting deputy spokesman Patrick Ventrell.

If her name sounds familiar, it’s because Psaki was President Obama’s traveling press secretary during his re-election campaign.

She was then picked by new Secretary of State John Kerry to be his press secretary, replacing Victoria Nuland. Since Psaki’s mid-February selection, she’s been undergoing intensive training within the State Department on global affairs.

Daily briefings at the State Department include reporters from around the world, and the questions usually span a wide range of countries. Psaki comes to the job with no foreign policy experience.

Nuland, on the other hand, was a former U.S. ambassador to NATO in the George W. Bush administration and a former foreign policy adviser to Dick Cheney.

Kerry knows Psaki from her work on his 2004 presidential campaign, but unlike the messaging she shaped for Obama’s and Kerry’s campaigns the State Department is expressly a nonpartisan agency.

Richard Grenell, who was press secretary for four U.S. ambassadors at the United Nations including John Bolton, weeks ago sent Psaki flowers and a note wishing her well in her new role. He hasn’t received a reply.

Suffice to say she’s not being treated with kid gloves by the State Department press corps. Here’s a sampling from today’s briefing, on Benghazi:

QUESTION: And you mentioned the e-mails that were released. Overall, in this building, what is the reaction to that release? Do you think it will quell the debate? Well, let’s start with that.

PSAKI: Well, the White House release yesterday, it allows the American public, including all of you, to see firsthand the conversation that took place over the course of e-mails. It does confirm that these were CIA-drafted and CIA-finalized talking points and that a number of the concerns raised in this building were separately on a different track raised in that building, as well.

I leave that to all of you and to others to determine whether it quells the concern, but I think it certainly does put a lot of facts in clarity for people.

QUESTION: So if it’s such a good thing, why did you wait more than nine months to do this?

PSAKI: Well, they’ve been released now…

(CROSSTALK)

PSAKI: I don’t want to look into a rear-view mirror on that.

QUESTION: You don’t want to look forward, you don’t want to look backward.

(CROSSTALK)

PSAKI: I do want to look forward. I’m all about looking forward.

QUESTION: You do? And then you don’t want to prejudge…

(CROSSTALK)

PSAKI: That’s what the implementation of the ARB is about.

QUESTION: You don’t want to prejudge anything or predetermine…

PSAKI: Well, that’s separate.

It’s been widely speculated around Washington that Psaki is being groomed to eventually replace Jay Carney in the press secretary role at the White House.

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (11)
All Comments   (11)
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"Since Psaki’s mid-February selection, she’s been undergoing intensive training"

Considering their real responsibilities, how hard could that be? The only thing she needs to know is to clear everything with Val and 'Chelle.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'd like to know what Cheney thought candidly about Victoria Nuland's foreign policy "advice". We see that credential of hers being bandied about in the bi-partisan sense, but is it really worth anything?

How many foreign policy advisers did Vice President Cheney have? Surely more than one.

There's less to this Victoria Nuland than meets the eye; also, judging from the above mentioned exchange with press members, we've really got yet another air-head briefing the "news" folks......."administration" is now an oxymoron.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Ad,

State doesn't really DO anything. Everything you and I would recognize as foreign policy is done by the DoD. Mostly State is a social director.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
....this was intended as a reply to Chris Bolts.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Second-rate managers hire third-rate people.

Competence and qualifications are not the requirements for any Obama job. It's all about the political rewards system. Do you think she could do as well financially at any other job?

Here's me doing the job:

QUESTION: And you mentioned the e-mails that were released. Overall, in this building, what is the reaction to that release? Do you think it will quell the debate? Well, let’s start with that.

Me: No. It's just a start. I'm sure the Republicans will demand more. Bring it, beyotches!

QUESTION: So if it’s such a good thing, why did you wait more than nine months to do this?

ME: Because you Press people are our b1tches, and so, have never done your actual jobs and asked for the emails before. All you had to do was ask, and we could have put this all behind us by now.

How'd I do? :P
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You're hired!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Competence and qualifications are not the requirements for any Obama job. It's all about the political rewards system. "

They weren't "must haves" for Obama either. It would be hyprocritical to demand more of his subordinates than of himself. His demands of himself, of course, amount to little more than continuing to breathe and maybe slipping in some hoops time.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I have it on good authority that the Turkish Prime Minister was so impressed with Jay Carney's spinning ability that he's offered him a job as chief whirling dervish. He will be missed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Another non-serious person, just like her boss. She'll fit in just fine. The perfect person to cover Obama's ass at State.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Kerry proves once again that he is stupid. He should wake up and realize that Obama doesn't have his back. Whenever Obama needs a fallguy for his foreign affairs blunders, Kerry is first in line.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well, if Victoria Nuland was part of the Bush Administration why didn't Obama just blame Benghazi on Bush?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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