WASHINGTON - White House press secretary Jay Carney is leaving his post and his No. 2 is taking over.<br />
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.<br />
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.<br />
The president said Carney plans to take the summer off before getting a new job.
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.