By Amie Parnes - 01/09/12 06:44 PM EST
White House press secretary Jay Carney on Monday pushed back on a new book that reports substantial tension and infighting in the West Wing and East Wing, calling the book over-hyped.
"Books like these tend to over-hype and sensationalize things, and I think that's the case here," Carney said, referring to the book The Obamas.
While the book portrays a great deal of tension between aides, Carney called the White House a "remarkably harmonious" place given the everyday workload.
At the same time, Carney acknowledged: "These are high-pressure jobs. There's a lot at stake."
Carney added that sometimes the "intensity" of the work at the White House leads people to raise their voices. But he said the tense moments portrayed in the book don't "reflect the overall tenor here."
Carney also pushed back on a part of the book in which the author, Jodi Kantor, said the first lady sought a larger role in the White House.
"The first lady is very focused on the issues that matter dearly to her" and focused on raising her children in the presidential bubble, he said.
Carney disputed a story in the book that the White House had a secret "Alice in Wonderland" Halloween party, which Johnny Depp and other celebrities attended, without knowledge of reporters.
The spokesman said the party--which was covered by a press pool at the White House-- was thrown with the purpose of "giving a nice time to military families and their kids.
"If we're trying to hide something by bringing in the press...we're not very good," he said.