Carney to Russia? It was discussed in West Wing

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Outgoing press secretary Jay Carney said Thursday that there were discussions in the White House about his taking the job as U.S. ambassador to Russia.

But Carney said he never spoke to President Obama about the possibility, and that he was “lobbying against” consideration for the job.

“The truth is there were some folks who — not the president, I didn’t discuss it with the president — who looking at my record and my interest and my background, said, ‘Oh, that would be a great idea,’ ” Carney said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast.

Carney, a former Moscow bureau chief for Time magazine who covered the fall of the Soviet Union, admitted there was a “certain romantic circularity” to the idea. He said because of that “seminal experience,” modern Russian politics and the rise of Vladimir Putin, who he was aware of as a government official decades ago, “will always be interesting to me.”

But, Carney said, the prospect of him becoming the president’s nominee as ambassador “was never a real thing.”

“To the extent there were any discussions about it that involved me, I was lobbying against it,” Carney said.

Carney, who departs as the president’s top spokesman on Friday, said he had “absolutely made no decisions about what I’m doing next.”

But Carney seemed to indicate he wasn’t particularly inclined to search out a book deal. He said he had not kept a journal during his time in the West Wing, and that he knows from his wife, journalist Claire Shipman, how difficult writing a book could be.

“Writing a book seems to me something that is very demanding,” Carney said, adding that writing was not his choice “when I’m looking to relax a little bit.”