Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Desiree Rogers, powerhouse behind the East Wing?

Ask former, Jackie Sher, who resigned or so they say....

One early miscalculation on Norris’ s part was that she tried to take on Desiree Rogers, a close friend of the first lady, insisting that the social secretary report to her. The disagreement culminated in what one aide described as a “blowup.” Valerie Jarrett, aide to the president and a friend of both women, had to step in and smooth over a conflict that many thought should never have been engaged. “We brought in people with strong personalities and passions,” Norris said. “Disagreements are inevitable.”

Desiree Rogers is a good looking, highly competent, sophisticated and Chicago armed individual. As was told from me, just on speculation from East Wing Rules, Desiree Rogers IS the one that Michelle Obama listens to. The ousting of Sher proves it.
Obamas, Bidens Host White House Luau For Members Of Congress

Now on the other hand was Sher effective for Michelle Obama?
Although Obama's job-approval ratings have soared, the first lady -- a Harvard-educated lawyer -- wasn't satisfied with coasting. She is hiring a full-time speechwriter and has instructed her staff to think "strategically" so that every event has a purpose and a message. She doesn't want to simply go to events and hug struggling military families, she said; she wants to show progress. "Her desire is to step out more and have deliverables," said communications chief Camille Johnston. "It's about things that are coming up that we want to be a part of: child nutrition reauthorization act, prevention and wellness for health-care reform. ..."

In the past couple of weeks, Obama has been more vocal about the specifics of the president's health plan, and she will play a substantive role in promoting it. She will soon announce the creation of an advisory board to help military families. And she will be the face of the administration's United We Serve, a summer-long national service program, which she launched on Monday. Even her social events have a message: She let congressional families know that before the annual White House barbecue Thursday, the 500 guests are expected to show up at Fort McNair in the capital to stuff camp backpacks with goodies for the children of military personnel.

Obama has also taken stock of her family life, which she has found to be more constrained than she expected. She has concluded that there's really only one road toward some semblance of a private life for them -- and it leads away from the White House.

I totally understand all this, especially a private life. Notice that the Obamas have spent a lot of time at Camp David. Why? It is PHOTO, PAPARAZZI, MEDIA FREE!!! The Obama Family can have the PRIVACY that lacks, even living in the White House.

More insight here...
In naming Sher, Obama took another step toward recreating her Chicago life on a world stage. She has surrounded herself with familiar faces, starting with her mother, who lives in the White House and takes daughters Malia and Sasha to school every day in an unmarked SUV. Obama begins her day at 5:30 a.m. with another Chicago transplant, Cornell McClellan, who has been her and her husband's personal trainer for 12 years. The family's meals are largely prepared by Chicagoan Sam Kass, a White House assistant chef, who also oversees the organic garden.

After the move to Washington, Obama sat down with her staff and two calendars: one from the office and one from Sidwell Friends, her daughters' new school. No events would be scheduled that presented a potential conflict with the girls. But she quickly discovered that her days off don't allow her any real freedom. When she wore shorts to walk the dog last week in a sheltered spot on the White House lawn, photos showed up on the Internet within hours.

Yes, I remember those photos. Grant it, no big deal because many of us walk our dog, for me DOGS, with poop bags, etc. It is no glam job. We are out there with no make up, no high heel shoes, enjoying the exercise with our pets, but for Michelle Obama it is different. Going out there, like that is not flattering and for some, NOT ME, but some that is not what they want to see a First Lady doing. Now this argument can be argued from here to there, but the privacy and frustration factor is understandable in Michelle Obama's thought. The "Damn, I can't even take Bo out for a poop without photographers....", yes, it is frustrating. But Michelle Obama, this is part of the JOB and the White House is DEFINITELY not a place for total privacy.

But, no matter what anyone may think or not think about Desiree Rogers, Michelle Obama TRUSTS her and her judgment.
One of the first people let in on Obama's vision was the woman charged with executing the cultural and social message for the White House: Rogers, 50, the first African American social secretary. The stuffy world of protocol has never seen the likes of Rogers, a glamorous Harvard MBA and former corporate executive, who unabashedly posed in $100,000 earrings for a magazine photo shoot -- much to the amusement of her boosters in the East Wing, and the anxiety of the president's advisers. Axelrod, an old friend, was agitated by the WSJ magazine profile in which she wore the earrings and talked about the "Obama brand."

Obama tasked Rogers with ensuring that every social event has a populist component, as she did last week when Duke Ellington High School students attended workshops with jazz greats. Rogers said that the Obamas want to convey that coming to the White House is "just a home visit." That's why, she said, the first lady hugs so many people who walk through the doors. "You try to take the fear out of just the mere awe of walking through the gates."

The Obamas are in no rush to schedule a state dinner for a foreign head of state, Rogers said. At the president's request, the first lady is planning a series of intimate "salon dinners." Rogers said she had provided the Obamas with a list of about 1,000 arts, business and science names and several suggested guest lists. "The opportunity to have 10 people that you're interested in and hear what they have to say about something," she said. "How fabulous!"

Read the whole article, here.

Home Page