Obama Surprises White House Press Secretary During Final Press Briefing

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President Barack Obama bid a public farewell to his press secretary Tuesday, dropping into Josh Earnest’s final daily briefing to lavish praise upon his spokesman.

President Barack Obama surprises White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest during his last briefing for the administration at the White House, on January 17, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama surprises White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest during his last briefing for the administration at the White House, on January 17, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Earnest, whom the President first met in Iowa ahead of his unlikely victory in the 2008 caucuses, stood by as his boss praised their decade-long partnership.

“I’ve watched him grow and I’ve watched him advance, and I’ve watched him marry and I’ve watched him be a father and I’ve watched him manage younger people coming up behind him,” Obama said. “And he’s never disappointed. He has always been the guy you wanted him to be.”

Tuesday’s briefing was the latest in a long string of final events for the Obama administration, which officially concludes at noon on Friday. Obama’s staff has been departing in waves since the beginning of the month. Those remaining are packing their final belongings in preparation for vacating their offices for President-elect Donald Trump and his team.

Obama holds his final news conference on Wednesday. Trump’s team moves into their offices shortly after the incoming Republican President takes the oath of office at noon Friday.

Members of Trump’s incoming administration have raised the prospect of altering how press briefings will proceed under the new administration including moving the briefings to a larger room.

Several of Obama’s staffers squeezed into the briefing room to watch the President’s appearance.

Obama on Tuesday praised Earnest’s attributes that he said made him an effective press secretary: preparation, courtesy, honesty and a willingness to share as much of the President’s vision as he could.

He also said Earnest’s “all-American, matinee, good-looking thing” helped, along with his descriptive surname.

“The guy’s name is Josh Earnest. Which, if somebody is speaking on your behalf, is a pretty good name to have,” he said.