Julianna Smoot To Replace Desiree Rogers as Social Secretary

The White House welcomes a “detail-oriented” event director

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Julianna Smoot (Ricky Carioti, The Washington Post/Getty)

The White House has decided it's time for the kind of social secretary who will stand by the door with a guest list in hand to keep out party crashers. Desiree Rogers' replacement as White House social secretary will be Julianna Smoot, a veteran fundraiser who served as national finance director for the Obama campaign in 2008.

Smoot brings "extraordinary organization and people skills" to the job, as well as "sharp attention to detail," says First Lady Michelle Obama's chief of staff, Susan Sher. Smoot has spent the past year serving as chief of staff to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk.

Following Rogers's rocky tenure, which was marred by a Virginia couple's crashing of the first presidential state dinner, White House officials privately expressed relief that a new phase is beginning. In a statement announcing the appointment, Obama said Smoot "shares our commitment to creating an inclusive, dynamic and culturally vibrant White House," something that Rogers had been credited with helping create.

"Michelle and I are pleased to have her join our team," Obama said of Smoot.

SOURCE: Washington Post

Accounts vary on whether Rogers was forced out, or left by choice.

Rogers's tenure as the top party and events planner for the administration was marred by the Salahi gate-crashing incident, in which a Virginia couple managed to enter the White House grounds during Obama's first state dinner in November.

Although a senior administration official said the incident proved decisive for her tenure, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the decision to leave was her own.

"She's not been asked to leave," Gibbs said. "She's decided it's time to go back to do other things she loved." Asked whether the Salahi incident played a role in her departure, Gibbs insisted: "I don't think it did, no."

SOURCE: Washington Post

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