WASHINGTON (AP) — Incoming White House press secretary Josh Earnest is bringing a new approach to dealing with the media that's more honey and less vinegar.

Earnest officially becomes White House press secretary Monday after several years as the chief deputy.

The 39-year-old's ascension comes at a challenging time in President Barack Obama's presidency. His job-approval ratings are at new lows and more criticism is expected in the heat of the midterm elections campaign, followed by the 2016 presidential race.

Earnest faces the challenge of trying to marshal attention for the president's agenda and shaping the lasting impression Obama will leave after a bruising start to his second term. Earnest says he wants to make sure the White House is responding quickly to critics and making a more effective counter-argument.

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