The Mirror

Jay Carney Makes For Deliciously Smug TV

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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Wednesday night was Jay Carney‘s debut appearance on CNN since leaving the White House. And boy did he come through with flying colors. Which means he managed to piss off everyone from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), FNC media contributor Richard Grenell and everyone in between.

If he’s going to be President Obama‘s water boy every time he goes on CNN and get ripped for it — what’s not to like? In two words: Ratings gold. Even his attire fit his seeming relaxed arrogant expression — open jacket, button-down, no tie, preppy glasses.

While CNN President Jeff Zucker must be sitting fat and happy over that hire, the criticisms Carney got were real and the ire he drew, pointed.

“It’s clearly too early for Jay Carney to be on @CNN,” wrote Grenell. “He is still angry and giving bland talking points… Jay Carney should have learned this lesson: take time before you take the payout.”

Even CNN’s own Jake Tapper got in on the fun and drew side-by-side caricatures of Carney and McCain as they brawled.

As McCain was taking Obama’s former spokesman to the woodshed, Carney seemed intent on at least appearing to get along with the senator. The split screen appeared. This was getting good and tense. At one point they put CNN’s Anderson Cooper between them in his own screen as a sort of hall monitor or monkey in the middle approach. They quickly abandoned that and returned to the two-man split screen for more fighting and awkwardness. Carney tried that “agree to disagree” line a few times and to tell him this is how he saw things in his interpretation. He appeared to be conscious of the idea that dressing down McCain was not an option.

But to no avail. “Facts are stubborn things,” McCain said, repeatedly pounding him.

Online was no less merciless toward Carney.

“Smugness in the dictionary: Jay Carney,” wrote Steven Lombardo, a former pollster and “message adviser” and now chief communications and marketing officer for Koch Industries.

“Jay Carney just referred to the ‘so-called McCain Carney show,'” said Philip Klein, Commentary editor for the Washington Examiner. “Wow, now it’s gone totally meta!”

If CNN wanted to hire a punching bag, this was a great move.