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Desiree Rogers Out, Former Durbin Aide In

By Prescott Carlson in News on Mar 1, 2010 10:20PM

Smoot in her fundraising days
Photo by Esthr
Desirée Rogers is stepping down as the White House Social Secretary, and a former aide of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin has been named as her replacement. No, not Mike Daly, who only seems interested in coordinating the party in his pants, but rather Julianna Smoot, who briefly worked under Durbin and is currently Chief of Staff for United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk, whose office negotiates international trade agreements.

While she may have an impressive resume, there's a simpler reason that Smoot would find herself in President Obama's good graces. Hired by Obama in 2007, Smoot was a key player in the campaign's ability to raise the most cash of all time, mainly by her recruitment of a large number of "bundlers" who not only dole out their own money, but also round up other donor contributions from within their circle of often high-power friends.

In a statement issued by the White House, Obama said that Smoot "shares our commitment to creating an inclusive, dynamic and culturally vibrant White House, and Michelle and I are pleased to have her join our team."

Smoot presumably also doesn't have the desire to hob nob amongst event guests. Rogers presided over a whopping 330 events in her 14 month stint at the White House, but none received as much attention as Obama's first State Dinner, which was crashed by a couple looking to score a reality TV show, which led to Rogers being criticized for spending more time socializing at the dinner than attending to her responsibilities. She told Sun-Times columnist Lynn Sweet that the State Dinner incident "was not a deciding factor." Rogers has held a number of different high profile jobs over the years, such as running the Illinois State Lottery and as president of Peoples Gas. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs says that Rogers was not forced out, and that "she's decided it's time to go back [to Chicago] to do other things she loved."