Carney's Time to Shine

Former Washington bureau chief of Time magazine and Vice President Joe Biden’s spokesman Jay Carney just got a promotion. Obama’s new chief of staff William Daley made the announcement yesterday via memo that Carney will replace Robert Gibbs as White House press secretary. The memo also included thirteen other appointments. Daley said that he is “excited about these changes” and looks forward to working with the whole team.

Timothy Geithner meanwhile is in Switzerland talking about confidence in the U.S. economy. On a panel at the World Economic Forum, Geithner commented, “There is more confidence now that the most acute part of the crisis is over, absolutely in the U.S. but even true globally.” He added that the United States is managing a “sustainable expansion” amid criticisms of Washington’s enormous budget deficit (Moody’s recently warned that the risk that America’s AAA credit rating would be downgraded was slowly becoming more real). Geithner acknowledged the problems with America’s situation but said that political will is difficult to come by.

Yesterday, President Obama sat down with his AfPak aides to talk about plans for the coming year, including the scheduled July troop withdrawal. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that Obama was updated on the situation “on the ground in Afghanistan” when it comes to both counterterrorism and security. But “the bulk of the meeting was spent discussing our goals for Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2011.”

India’s National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon is in Washington to lay some groundwork for the spring’s India-U.S. Strategic Dialogue and to take stock of initiatives that were kicked off during President Obama’s recent trip to India. Menon had dinner last night with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and will meet with the U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon as well as Under Secretary of State Bill Burns today.