June 5th, 2009
01:50 PM ET
5 years ago

First lady names new chief of staff

The White House said Thursday the first lady had selected a new chief of staff.
The White House said Thursday the first lady had selected a new chief of staff.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - First lady Michelle Obama has brought in an old Chicago friend, Susan Sher, to replace chief of staff Jackie Norris.

The White House announced the switch late Thursday.

Norris was part of the team that led the Obama campaign to victory in the Iowa caucuses. She will now serve as a senior adviser to the Corporation for National and Community Service.

"I am grateful to President and Mrs. Obama for the opportunities and friendship they have given me over the last few years and I am looking forward to becoming an integral part of this Administration's efforts to advance the cause of national and community service," Norris said in a statement released by the White House.

In a statement, Mrs. Obama described Sher, who has been advising her on issues like health care, "as a trusted advisor, longtime mentor and friend dating back to my work at the City of Chicago and later the University of Chicago."

She also thanked Norris for building "a strong organization in the East Wing."

The first lady is slated to join President Barack Obama in Europe for the final leg of his latest overseas trip.


Filed under: Michelle Obama
soundoff (298 Responses)
  1. buckwheat

    She was lucky. At least she got a job.Very few could get around their tax troubles or bid rigging scandals. Fast how that story died in the Liberal new media. Just like the Pelosi scandal. Cover it up CNN you are expert at it.

    June 5, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  2. Scott

    I love all the conservatives here whining. It makes the last 8 years almost bearable. We have the best president in the White House and they don't even know it. Maybe they'll wake up one day but I doubt it.

    And by the way, this is a government agency committed to organizing volunteeers for community work.

    June 5, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  3. Roger

    I see the idiotic tongue-wagging Republican bigots are out pretending they actually know what they are talking about in the name of partisanship.

    Since when is the First Lady not entitled to have on her staff some one she can work well with? Who knows what problems she may have had with Norris and who cares?

    June 5, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  4. leapfrog

    James -

    The difference between Michelle Obama and Sarah Palin starts and ends with their intellectual capabilities. Michelle Obama is a successful lawyer who is incredibly talented and saavy when it comes to the political system. Sarah Palin has incredible difficulty understanding basic concepts of governance, and frequently puts her foot in her mouth, when she isn't spouting bile about anyone left of fundamentalist Christians. Is there hypocracy in reporting in a favorable light someone who is upbeat and professional like Michelle Obama, and reporting the frequent gaffes by a right-wing nincompoop? None whatsoever. You reap what you sow.

    June 5, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  5. mmg

    Seriously, I don't care about who she hires..I really think the President and Michelle do the exact opposite of what they preach to others and it is a shame.. But CNN it is appaulling that you do let the name calling of either party get so out of control, Opinion is one thing ...down right hatefullness is another..Please people act accordingly!!!!
    let's see if this get's posted...

    June 5, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  6. Andrea, NC

    Great, these comments demonstrate the great intellect, critical thinking abilities, compassion and development of the American people. That's why they are so respected and admired around the world.

    June 5, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  7. landshark

    mlk, You must be a fool. So I am not going to waste a lot of time on you. prompters, are used by thousands of smart people ever day.

    June 5, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. Tina from NC

    Folks, just let it go...it is sort of like Joe the Plumber visiting NC a few days ago...YOU JUST CAN'T FIX STUPID!!

    June 5, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. Avonne

    You know, I haven't heard how many times the Obama's have left the Whitehouse for Camp David, have you?
    Seems like those trips in the last administration might have used a bit of resources.

    June 5, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  10. Donald

    Andrea, maybe you sould move to another country!

    June 5, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  11. Laverne

    You can always tell when President Obama is on the right track because the repubs continue to spew their hate and unnessary comments. They hate to admit that President Obama doing what President Bush could not do in 8 years!. Bill Bennett said yesterday on CNN that Bush said the exact same things, but everybody chooses to act as if he did not. Well, to bill and others, it fell on death ears, because of his arrogance and his cocky approach and lack of respect for anyone outside of his bubble. It is all about the approach that President Obama is taking, he treats people like human beings and not like they are not even worthy to be in his presence. I am so proud of his as a leader of the free world and proud to call him president. Hating him won't get him out of office, so why not take all that negative energy and do something useful and constructive with it, but unfortunately, most of your repubs are so full of hate that you don't know any other way to be.

    June 5, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  12. shelly

    I'm aumused at some of these comments.

    She is serving as chief of staff to Michelle Obama...not the presidents chief of staff.

    This is the same position that was held by Anita McBride to Laura Bush....this is not some new position created by the Obamas people. Quit freaking out.

    June 5, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  13. Andrew, Buffalo NY

    Ahh great, more of the Chicago Machine in the white house!

    June 5, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  14. ThinkAboutIt

    MLK, go crawl back under your rock. President Obama won't tell us his "real" name – give me a break! Please explain to me how our President managed to keep this "secret" all these years ...

    Do you honestly think that over the 21 months that Barack Obama campaigned, after hundreds of interviews, dozens of debates (not to mention all the background checking that was required by the State of Illinois and the U.S. Federal governments before he was sworn in as a State and the U.S. Senator, respectively), that his "real name" was not found out after being so intensely scrutinized, not only by the public, but by the press and countless pundits?

    MLK, he's the real deal and our President. He's intelligent, hardworking, understands what it means to serve the people of the United States and yes, he's even a U.S. citizen (it doesn't matter your parents' country of citizenship; if you are born on U.S. soil – and Hawaii has been a state since Friday, August 21, 1959 and Barack Obama was born August 4, 1961 – you are a U.S. citizen),

    To everyone like MLK out there – be a patriot, stop whining about your guy not winning, and start lending a hand to help out your country!

    June 5, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  15. Biased

    No one is ever going to stop the fact that most of Chicago will end up in the White House at one point, but one thing really has me wondering and no one has ever answered it. It is one of those unimportant little tidbits people throw off as info that just seems to stick......
    If the First Lady is so down to earth and so concerned over the poor etc and had been leading such a lifestyle before her desire to enter the White House, as all her adoring fans portray her, then why has she had a makeup artist working for her for over "6 years" which she brought to the White House as well? Why also was it stated that they brought their personal chef to the White House? Who in leading a more simple life as the Obamas portray themselves, has their own personal chef to bring with them to the White House?

    June 5, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  16. Mike

    I just love how the Obama critics can find something to criticize in every step the Obamas make. First you complained about the President taking his wife out on a date (he doesn't get one night off while the last President actually spent more days of his presidency on his ranch in TX than he did in DC??). Now there are complaints about the money being spent on an overseas trip? Hasn't every President gone overseas on tax payer money? Funny, the BILLIONS we wasted on an unnecessary war never seemed to bother any of you.

    June 5, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  17. worriedmom

    Well Obama's did run on Change, you got it! I think it is so funny how upset the Libs get when you criticize their "Beloved King and Queen" but they sure have no problem spewing the hate when it even smells of Republican...... You Libs are what is wrong with this world, you cannot and will not try to understand both sides of the story. You have every right to disagree but your vile and hateful ways are disgusting. Please now go take a Valium and calm down and go into your peaceful, flowery disillusioned world.

    June 5, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  18. Meg

    Donald June 5th, 2009 11:51 am ET

    Doggone, the First Lady is the ugliest First Lady is recent memory.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    And she is the most educated first lady in the recent memory!

    June 5, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  19. conniesz

    Every modern first lady has had a chief of staff. This position should be someone who is close to the first lady – a qualified friend is the very best person for this job. Someone who can tell you when you're wrong because the relationship is strong enough to handle criticism. It needs to be someone the first lady can trust completely. One of the requirements for any chief of staff job is an existing relationship. If you don't understand that, you don't understand the position at all.

    Michelle is showing the world that intelligence, community, and family can be combined with grace and beauty. She is as much an ambassador for our way of life as she is the president's wife. This is all to the good. I think that's part of the reason so many on the right try to smear her – she represents what they are constantly saying is their ideal – only she's a liberal Democrat. They just can't stand that the shining example of an American family right now is the Obamas. There is no Republican family that can be held up as a better (or even close) example – it must be painful to watch.

    June 5, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  20. Anonymous

    To Grin and Bear It: um hm, if I may, that should read "who is kidding whom"...

    June 5, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  21. LacrosseMom

    @ phoenix 86......... No, it wasn't the headlines that put Obama in the White House. It was the American people rejecting the vitriolic politics of the Republicans!

    Like the rest of the Sane people on the blog, I ask what's with all the hate GOP?

    Every First Lady has had her own staff, her own Chief of Staff. And.... even though the majority of Americans believe that Bush was the worst president we have ever had, we are ...... respectful..... of Mrs. Laura Bush!

    Makes me wonder how you rightwingnuts actually can claim to be Christians when your comments are so....... hateful.

    June 5, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  22. Vickie

    Wow, some of the posters on this blog are way out there. Ok, so you don't like the Obamas. Enough already. We get it. So please just relax.

    I mean, acting as if the First Lady having a Chief of Staff is something the Obama's invented. Isn't it standard protocol for the First Lady to have the prerogative to select whomever she wants to be her Chief of Staff?

    Find something else to gripe about! Please......

    June 5, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  23. SICK of the idiot-fringe-right-wing-extremists

    CNN please post this since you won't allow comments on the site it pertains to!

    All of you people, who love to whine, gripe, complain aqnd repeat the idiotic, dangerous comments made by various right-wing commentors:

    WHAT ABOUT THE FACT THAT THE NUMBER OF JOBS LOST IN MAY, 2009, IS THE LOWEST SINCE SEPTEMBER, 2008??? Who was president in September? OH, that's right, George W. Bush! Who was president in May? OH, that's right Barack Obama!

    Guess what???? It's WORKING! The economy IS getting better . . . no matter what garbage you un-patriotic IDIOTS spew!

    June 5, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  24. Joe

    I wouldn't bring someone I don't know well, so as Michelle!

    June 5, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  25. RCasson

    I wish I could work for the first lady. I would be honored. Stop hating GOP!

    June 5, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
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