Smoot, 42, spent the past year working as chief of staff to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. He says that when the presidential transition team learned Smoot was interested in working at the trade office, he was told: "If you don't take her, you're a fool."
Smoot already had an eye-popping achievement by then. As finance director for the Obama campaign — her first presidential race — she brought in nearly $750 million, a record amount that surpassed the combined total for both major party candidates four years earlier. Early on, the impressive cash haul marked Obama, a first-term senator, as a serious contender and in later stages it provided the cash to let him do pretty much whatever he wanted.
Plenty of other Democrats, too, owe their campaign millions to Smoot's abilities. She steered fundraising for Democratic Senate candidates in 2006, raising a record sum.
Smoot is taking over the Social Office from Desiree Rogers, a fashion-forward Chicago confidante of the Obamas who resigned after little more than a year in the job. Rogers' service was marked by a series of successful high-wattage social events and lots of new and creative twists, among them an East Room poetry jam and trick-or-treating by thousands of D.C. kids on the White House lawn.
Her tenure was marred, though, by the big blowup over the party-crashers at the Obamas' first state dinner and a general sense that she acted too much like a celebrity and not enough like a staff member.
Smoot comes across as the anti-diva. Fashion doesn't consume her. No one expects her to turn up in Vogue magazine, as Rogers did early on. Or to pull up a seat at a state dinner, as did Rogers. Or to have a front-row seat during New York fashion week, as did Rogers. Think J. Crew, not Comme des Garcons. Read more at MSNBC.
Monday, March 22, 2010
New White House Fun Maker Smoot An Anti Diva
Healthcare passed, but all we've heard about today is repeal and how bad healthcare legislation is and how it will raise premiums and how Armageddon is near. I've struggled to find anything positive, so it looks like, once again, the media is falling down on the job, and the republicans continue to be high achievers in fear mongering. Or maybe I'm on healthcare overload! So here's a neat profile on Julianna Smoot, who replaced Desiree Rogers. Smoot, they say, is the anti-diva, in contrast to Rogers. Smoot gets to plan all the fun stuff at the White House: