"Here I am, the old me," a clean-shaven White House spokesman Jay
Carney said at the start of his daily briefing with reporters on
Friday. His announcement was greeted with laughter.
Carney debuted the beard to an amused — and not entirely
complimentary — press corps on January 6, after a two-week holiday
break from television cameras.
Carney said his wife liked it — but she appeared to be in a
His boss, President Barack Obama, razzed him about it, as did any
number of other White House officials. Even deputy press secretary
Jamie Smith's mother registered her disapproval and was pleased at
the new, improved Carney.
There was applause and a couple of cheers in the press room when a
fresh-faced Carney returned on Friday.
"Let's just say you're not the only ones," Carney remarked.
Carney said he was discouraged from his hirsute pursuits by Obama's
speechwriter, Cody Keenan, whose much denser beard has been featured
in photos on the White House website in the lead-up to Obama's State
of the Union address on Tuesday.
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"If you've seen Cody Keenan's beard, you know that I have a daily
reminder of the insufficiency of my efforts," Carney told reporters.
"I decided that the time had come to shave."
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Steve Holland; editing by Gunna
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