The White House made official Saturday what I reported Friday in PoliticsDaily: super-fundraiser Julianna Smoot will replace Desiree Rogers as the White House Social Secretary.
Smoot will move to the East Wing from the U.S. Trade Representative Office, where she is the chief of staff. I'm told Rogers will work with Smoot for a short period in order to make sure there is a smooth transition. On Friday, I broke the story that Rogers, one of the first appointees of the Obama administration -- and a close friend of the Obama family from Chicago -- would be stepping down. Read that story here
Smoot was a key staffer in the Obama presidential campaign. Teamed with Obama finance chair Penny Pritzker, a Chicago business executive, Smoot ran the fund-raising operation that made then-Sen. Barack Obama a viable presidential candidate. Her success in landing major donors quickly, in the first quarter of the campaign, gave Obama an immediate boost to the top tiers of the 2008 Democratic field, putting him on par with Hillary Clinton. Though the Obama campaign emphasized for PR purposes the small donors, the big donors and bundling effort -- put together by Smoot and Pritzker -- was the key to Obama's success.
"Julianna 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," Obama
said in a a statement.
"I am humbled and excited to take on the role of White House Social Secretary and support the Obama administration in a different capacity," said Smoot. "Over the last year, I have had the honor of building relationships in the international community through my work at USTR, and I am looking forward to implementing this experience at the White House."
Susan Sher, chief of staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, said: "Julianna Smoot brings extraordinary organization and people skills to the role, and sharp attention to detail -- all attributes critical to the highly complex responsibilities of the White House Social Secretary. I know that she will continue on the path of creating beautiful events and opening up the White House in new and creative ways that have been established this past year. I'm pleased to welcome her to the East Wing."
Smoot is a North Carolina native and an alum of Smith College (as is Stephanie Cutter, the Democratic consultant hired by the East Wing to help oversee the launch of Mrs. Obama's childhood obesity drive). She is a professional fund-raiser with a golden rolodex who worked for Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Jay. Rockefeller (D-W. Va.)