Jay Carney Doesn't Have the Answer to Your Question

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 21 2013 1:08 PM

Jay Carney Doesn't Have the Answer to Your Question

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney pauses while speaking during a daily briefing at the White House May 29, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Yahoo News' Rachel Rose Hartman and Chris Wilson combed through the transcripts of all 444 briefings that Jay Carney has held since becoming White House press secretary in February of 2011 to come up with this rather awesome interactive tracking all the different ways that he dodges reporters' questions.

As you'll see, Carney's developed a handful of simple—yet remarkably effective—verbal crutches to buy his team a little more time to determine the best course of spin. The press secretary's favorite dodge: some variation of "I don’t have the answer," which he has used more than 1,900 times. My personal favorite comes in toward the bottom of the list: "The president won't tell me," which Carney's used at least 117 times, and the White House press corps—thanks to Carney—has had the chance to say many more. You can play around with the interactive below, and then head on over to Yahoo to read more about the project.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 



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