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Wednesday
Dec022009

Limelight Lover Desiree Rogers Finds Herself In the Hot Seat

Desiree Rogers, the White House Social Secretary, left after a preview for the state dinner last week at the White House. The dazzling Desiree Rogers is in some pretty hot water over her management of last week’s State dinner and Virginia couple Michaele and Tareq Salahi’s crashing of Secret Service security.But then, she adores the limelight, guaranteeing that the hot seat is never far away.

The White House today invoked the separation of powers to keep Ms. Rogers, President Obama’s social secretary from testifying on Capitol Hill about the party crashers. Nor will the couple testify.

The evidence shows, according to the White House statement, that no laws were broken, that White House protocol “was either deficient or mismanaged” and that there were “honest misunderstandings and mistakes made by all parties involved.”

Press Secretary Gibbs said that the White House has changed its procedures, stationing a representative of the social secretary’s office at Secret Service checkpoints in the future. Read on: White House Blocks Testimony on Party Crashers NYTimes

All parties consider the security lapse to sit squarely with Rogers, who was known as a nitpicking CEO in Chicago.

Washington watchers suggest that Rogers may be taking herself too seriously for her own good, and it’s not the first time she’s greated tensions between the East and West wings.

I didn’t think much of the fact that Rogers appeared in Vogue before the First Lady … until Robin Givhan pointed out the possible faux pas in her Washington Post piece Rogers’s unwanted new guest: Scrutiny.

The Atlantic says Pulitizer prize-winning Givhan has written a piece that should get her flunked out of journalism school. Not only is the story very gossipy, Givhan uses many anonymous sources.

Givhan makes it clear that questions have been raised about Rogers’s tendency to bask in the Washington limelight, just as she did in Chicago. This is not my beat, so I’ll let Robin Givhan do her own talking. I can confirm that stories about why the Obamas should not fire Rogers are prolific in Google news.

Desirée Rogers in the East Room. Trench by Viktor & Rolf; earrings by CartierNYTimes Maureen Dowd is a terser and more opinionated columnist who writes of Rogers: (she’s been) cruising for a bruising since telling The Wall Street Journal in April: “We have the best brand on Earth: the Obama brand. Our possibilities are endless.”

Instead of standing outside with a clipboard, eyeballing guests as Anne Hathaway did in “The Devil Wears Prada,” Desirée was a guest at the dinner, the center of her own table of guests, just like the president and first lady. via NYTimes

I’ve expressed major concern about the communication skills of the East and West wings.

Until last week the debacle of the Olympic video for Copenhagen was a bigger mess in my mind than referring to Obama as a brand.

In retrospect, I agree that Rogers’s choice of words were poorly chosen, although I do find branding a generally accurate marketing and PR statement of the opportunity she inherited.

Six months later, I give the White House a C for effectively defining, articulating and delivering consistent, informative, clear messages on critical issues.

The weight of the communications effort doesn’t rest only with Rogers. The entire Team Obama looks far more amateurish and inexperienced thanin the early days, before governing and not running for office became the new objective.

And yes, sophisticated and educated as the team may be, I think they are often too bedazzled for their own good. Rogers struck an unusually high profile, which I glamourized at Michelle-Style. When one takes such a public persona route to fame and fortune, one must give a flawless performance. While I admitted that Desiree’s road was treacherous, I wanted a higher-profile, more sophisticated and worldly White House.

Maureen Dowd’s inferential observation that any good-looking blond with a revolver and slinky red dress could have walked in and shot the president at last week’s state dinner is the first thought that went through my mind when the news broke.

OK, presumably guests went through metal detectors but Michaele Salahi could have used some high-powered techno, gizmo brooch to kill the president.

Actually, it’s not even that complicated.

Modeling the assassination after the recent suicide bomber explosion before a Saudi prince, she could have buried the bomb where no one would dare look for it.  She gets a call on her cell phone. Bingo.

Now Rogers is unquestionably fired and Sept. 11 suddenly seems like a trial run. That’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout. Anne

Today Feb. 26, 2010

Desiree Rogers | As They Say on ‘Washington Week’, Bye Bye

Defending Desiree Rogers

More reading when I was in a much more positive mood about Team Obama:

Meet Desiree Rogers, Descendant of Creole Voodoo Priestess Marie Laveau Glapion, Now CEO of Global Megabrand Obama Michelle-Style

Valerie Jarrett and Desiree Rogers Say: “Laissez les bon temps rouler”

 

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