As reported by Politico, First Lady Michelle Obama‘s Press Secretary, Katie McCormick Lelyveld, will be leaving on May 27th to go back to Chicago.
So began the 250th press briefing of the Obama Administration and the last time Robert Gibbs stepped behind the podium as the White House Press Secretary.
Obama walked Gibbs into the briefing room after making an official statement to cameras about the situation in Egypt. The president recalled when Gibbs began working for him while he was running for the US Senate in Illinois. “I still didn’t have a lot of money, so all I could afford was Gibbs.”
He then shared a bit of trivia about his keynote address in Boston at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. It was the speech that launched Obama into the national spotlight and set him on the fast track to the White House. But what most of us didn’t know was that they were having a problem deciding which tie Obama should wear. All eyes turned to Gibbs and the blue silk tie around his neck.
Gibbs relented and took off the tie. Obama quipped, [Gibbs was] willing to take one for the Gipper.”
“I have to tell you, that I know there’s a simmering resentment that he never got it back. So as a consequence I wanted here, today, to present on the record, on camera, finally returning Robert’s tie. If he chooses to break the glass, he can,” Obama said as he handed over a frame with the tie, photos and a handwritten note.
“Robert has not only been an extraordinary press secretary but he has been a great friend. You could not ask for somebody better in the foxhole with you.”
Gibbs shook hands and embraced the president who left the room so that he could begin the briefing. While taking his place at the podium, Gibbs joked: “I liked that tie.”
Before jumping into the news of the day, Gibbs took a moment to thank everyone he works with. “It is a tremendous honor and privilege to do this each and every day, to serve and to take part in days like today that are so momentous. I want to thank the president and all of his team for, again, the privilege to serve.”
Watch the briefing here:
In another sign of a new Obama era, notoriously camera shy David Plouffe, Senior Advisor to the President, is kicking off a new program the White House is calling a “direct line to senior staff.”
With Advise the Advisor, every week a member of senior staff will post a video seeking the opinions and feedback of the American people on different issues. Plouffe kicked off the program with a short video harkening back to the President’s “win the future” State of the Union message.
You can go now to whitehouse.gov/advise and send your thoughts on American innovation. Be sure to check back in to see if your idea passed muster – they promise to read through as much of the feedback as possible and post a summary a few days after the video goes up.
William Daley, JPMorgan Chase senior executive and Secretary of Commerce during the Clinton administration, has been named the new White House Chief of Staff.
Daley officially takes over for Rahm Emanuel who left to return to Chicago to campaign for mayor (coincidentally, Mr. Daley’s brother Richard serves as Chicago’s current Mayor). Pete Rouse, who served as interim chief of staff, will continue as a Counselor to the President.
See the full story in the New York Times.
In today’s special announcement in the East Room, President Obama said he was “proud to announce the appointment of an experienced public servant, devoted patriot, and my friend, fellow Chicagoan Bill Daley, to serve as my Chief of Staff. Few Americans can boast the breadth of experience that Bill brings to this job.”
Obama White House Senior Adviser, Tina Tchen, is named Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, replacing Susan Sher who previously announced she is returning to Chicago. Ms. Tchen has most recently worked for Valerie Jarrett as Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Public Engagement, and as Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls. She will continue to lead the White House efforts for women and girls.
Below is the White House Press Release:
January 5, 2011
Statement from Mrs. Obama
“I am thrilled to welcome Tina to my team. I have admired her work with the White House Council on Women and Girls and her leadership with the Office of Public Engagement. Tina’s tenure at the White House has focused on ensuring that communities across the country have a voice and a presence at the White House, and her office has worked closely with mine to develop many of our outreach efforts, so she was the natural choice for this role. We particularly share a commitment to nurturing young women and utilizing the White House as a platform for education and inclusion, and I look forward to continuing that work together.
“As sad as I am to see Susan go, I always knew she would return to her family and her community in Chicago. She arrived here in January of 2009 intending only to stay for a year and her extended tenure as my Chief of Staff has been a gift. She has led my team with an even hand and a clear vision and I am so grateful to her and her family for her time here in Washington.
“When selecting a replacement, I looked for someone who had the right experience to lead my team and am grateful to bring on Tina, whom I’ve known and respected for 20 years. Tina’s success leading the Office of Public Engagement, reaching out to people across the country and encouraging Americans from all walks of life to feel connected to this White House, makes her uniquely qualified to step up to this position. I look forward to working with her in the years ahead to develop effective strategies for the Let’s Move! campaign, to broaden our work on behalf of military families, to continue the arts and cultural events in the White House, and to advance our international agenda.”
Valerie Jarrett, Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, and Senior Adviser and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement said, “Tina has been an incredible asset as the Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and the Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls. As the President said at the Council’s formation in the spring of 2009, the issues facing women today are not just women’s issues. When women are treated unfairly, that affects our families, our work environments and the next generation of young women. Throughout her career, Tina has been a tireless advocate for women and families, and she brought that wealth of experience and dedication to the White House Council’s efforts. She will bring her leadership, wisdom and passion to her new position and continue to have a substantial impact on the issues affecting America’s women and girls.”
Ms. Tchen began her work for the President and First Lady during the 2008 campaign. Prior to this service, Ms. Tchen was a partner at the Chicago office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, where she worked for 23 years in corporate litigation, representing public agencies including the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS), the Illinois Department of Public Aid and the Chicago Housing Authority.
Even after Susan Sher left the White House last week to return to Chicago, we can welcome a new transplant to the Beltway: Kristina Schake, co-founder of communications firm Griffin|Schake, joins the administration as First Lady Michelle Obama’s communications director.
From a press release sent out this morning:
“I’m thrilled to welcome Kristina to the team. Kristina brings a wealth of expertise that I know will make her a tremendous asset in the East Wing,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “Kristina has done extensive work throughout her career on child nutrition and community health issues, and that paired with her experience as part of a military family will bring invaluable insight to our work on childhood obesity and our efforts to support military families. I look forward to working with Kristina on these efforts and more in the months and years ahead.”
Schake isn’t a stranger to working for powerful heads of state as she worked with former First Lady of California Maria Shriver among tackling obesity issues, “stem cell research and early childhood education a national priority and helped change California’s political landscape on renewable energy and civil rights.”
We can expect to see Schake around Capitol Hill starting in December.
photo via Griffin|Schake
Susan Sher, Chief of Staff to the First Lady and longtime friend of the Obamas will be returning to Chicago after the first of the year.
“Susan has been both a colleague and a dear friend for decades, and I have been grateful every day for her leadership and wise counsel in Washington,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “I also very much appreciate her generosity in staying longer than she initially planned – spending so many months away from her family in Chicago – to help me build my office in the East Wing. I wish her all the best.”
Sher spearheaded the First Lady’s high-profile anti-obesity campaign Let’s Move! and served as the Administration’s liaison to the Jewish community. She came to Washington with the Obamas in January 2009, working in the White House Counsel’s Office to support the Office of the First Lady. In June 2009, Sher took over as Chief of Staff to the First Lady, adding stability and her own personal style to the East Wing.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Barack Obama Pt. 1|
Despite explaining health care reform, the economy and even a ceremonial mug presentation, the takeaway from President Obama on The Daily Show? Dude.
Not even 24 hours after NBC broke the news of Rahm Emanuel’s departure, President Barack Obama opened this morning’s announcement with, “Good morning and welcome to the least suspenseful announcement of all time.”
The President came to praise his former Chief of Staff through his efforts on health care reform and leading the White House’s staff through these turbulent times. “We’re also losing a comparable elader of our staff and one who we’re going to miss very much,” the President said. “When I first started assembling this administration I knew we were going to face some of the most difficult years our country has seen in years.”
For the 49th birthday of the President of the United States, you’d think it was the saddest day ever if you were the New York Daily News.
The Gotham tabloid started this piece about the President’s special day in true fashion: “It’s your party, Mr. President. You can cry if you want to.” It doesn’t hurt to run a file photo of the President staring at a plate of cupcakes like it was a handful of oil.
Back to the plate at hand: the photo (left) shares a strange similarity to when Helen Thomas celebrated her 89th birthday and received a plate of cupcakes from the President (and he’s smiling too!)
In fact, the photo is from last year while Obama “watches the flame on the candle as he walks to the Brady Briefing Room to present cupcakes to Hearst White House columnist Helen Thomas in honor of her birthday, Aug. 4, 2009.”
So if you thought the President was sad due to A-Rod’s 600th hit or his birth date still being debated, don’t fret. Even if he didn’t get to eat his cake from the AFL-CIO according to Yahoo, we’re sure he’ll enjoy Wendy Williams’ Gift Bag and a birthday tweet (via Savannah Gutherie) from Russian President Dmitri Medvedev.