June 5th, 2009
01:50 PM ET
9 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. R Wolf

    So, why is this even a story?

    June 5, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  2. B.Brown

    What bitter little people! "To the victor goes the spoils. " The First Lady can build her team any way she chooses. And sore losers, don't count on four years only, Barack Obama and his lovely wife will get a second term. Critics can be in denial, but do you think there is any way in creation that the American people would put a Republican in the White House any time soon given the progress that this President is making? Great some therapy!

    June 5, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  3. Deborah

    It so saddens me to see the vitriolic nonsense spewing from racist mouths, especially in 2009.

    Michelle Obama is a beautiful, poised, educated, intelligent, accomplished, kind First Lady. Thank god we have someone like her in the White House to be such a good example to the rest of the world.

    June 5, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  4. Curious2009

    This would'nt have anything to do woth race would it? Just curious if her friend is black. I now if it was a white first lady choosing a white COS over a black one we would be looking at a WHOLE different headline.

    June 5, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  5. Too True For You

    @TCM – nice try to hijack the thread. Couldn't find anything bad to say about this particular topic, so decided to make up your own? And you wonder in your righteous indignation why folks comment you as a hater.

    June 5, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  6. Washington, DC

    All you negative people needs to put a socket in it. Instead of helping, you're making more damage to what is already on the mans plate. If the First lady wants to name her dog chief of staff, you'll still complain! You can't please everyone. What a hatred attitude.!!!!!!!!!

    June 5, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  7. Cheryl

    Just like TEXAS and WYOMING were dessimated when bushwacko and chaingangman went to Washington.

    It is natural. It is inevitable.

    Are you sorry they didn't pick you? Move to Chicago.

    June 5, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  8. buckwheat

    Since no one probably knows what Corporation for National Community Service just as they do not know what ACORN is why not go to their web site and see all the Liberal faces there that are supporting this organization with your tax dollars That by its name is a private Corporation.Do you think any lobbying is going on here?

    June 5, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  9. BobC

    Has anybody forgotten that Michelle Obama has no officially sanctioned duties? If she fired her entire staff and took up basket weaving it would have no impact on the workings of the government. Is the media so desperate to find turmoil at the White House that they have resorted to the next best thing – a change in the first lady's staff?

    June 5, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  10. Monica

    UUGGGHH! Is all I have to say about most of you whining republican voters. First you chring at the thought of date night! The President Obama is not the first President to take is wife on a date nor would he be the last. If anything he is still showing America how to be a husband and a family man. Because of security reason he will have to take a plane instead of a bragad of cars from DC to NY. No one complained when Bush vacationed at the Ranch, nor when he redecorated the ranch off tax payers money. Get a life you hateful repubs! Now because Michelle has appointed a person she knows well and know will serve well. Favors, i think not, or maybe you want to question Bush pick of Cheny when Cheny got an extra pay check off higher gas prices in this country! I will be glad when President Obama cleans up all this repub mess and then what will you have to whine about. TOO MANY JOBS? TOO MUCH MONEY?

    June 5, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  11. Polla

    No drama in the white house...Bring someone you know won't embarrass you!

    June 5, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  12. TJ in Tally

    If by cronyism you mean that someone brings in people they trust to advise them, then yeah, that is what it is. Happens in every government agency at all levesl when there is an administration change. When you have a huge job you want people around you that you trust and respect. Can anyone honestly say they wouldn't do the same?

    It is not unusual for changes in staff to take place. Why is this a big deal? And why assume that it was initiated by Michelle Obama? Maybe Norris was offered a position that she saw as a better place for her. I've done the same thing in the past – loved the people I worked with but hated the job so I found another one that suited my skills and fit my goals better. We don't have the info and, frankly, what difference does it make?

    And for all you making comments about why the first lady is anouncing a new chief of staff – you do realize that this is HER chief of staff, not the White House chief of staff, right?

    June 5, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  13. Janice in Mississippi

    Every First Lady and every Vice President's Lady (I hate the term "second" lady) have had staff.

    Why is there a problem with the two leaders of this administration wives having a staff? Or, is the problem only with the First Lady having a staff?

    Ms. Norris applied for and got the job where she will "lead"; she is capable of doing just that.

    Mrs. Obama chose Ms. Sher, someone she and her family have know for years, to replace Ms. Norris. This goes on every day in government and private administrations.

    Saying negative things about Mrs. Obama in order to make you feel better is not going to change the fact that Mrs. Obama is the First Lady.

    All First Families fly in the 247 that becomes Air Force One when the President is on board. Two of them have always flown at the same time; as one always serves as a diversion. This is NOT NEW. What is the dam big deal because the Obamas use Air Force One? Come on; you can say why it really bothers you. Stop hiding behind hash words and say why you have a "problem" with this First Family. I and the rest of the world already know why.

    I and many other Americans and others around the world love the Obamas; God loves the Obamas; prayers of protection and love shall sustain them; prayers will identify those who wish to cause them harm.

    June 5, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  14. Lynn

    What CNN fails to state is that Ms Norris just received her Masters Degree in the community service area and will be an enthusiatic qualified addition to Both the President's and the First Lady's policies in that area. Again a silly blog to create nonexistant controversy and hear pathetic rants from the haters. Last time I looked at a map, Chicago was still part of America.

    As Ms is just 34 and the mother of small children , I would view this as a fantastic opportunity to follow her passion and have a schedule condusive to being a mother. Myself I would perfer her new job!!

    June 5, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  15. Felicia Armstrong

    And this is news>>>>> You Obama haters seem to hang on to every word the press reports on the Obamas. You Obama haters need to get a life. Jealousy will eat you alive while you wait for 4 years to pass. Remember, the Republicans are the reason for Obama being in Office. If Rush Limbough and the rest had pick a better candidate maybe Obama would have had some competition in winning. But, this is just proof.........America is tired of the Good ole' boy Republican way and Change is over due. I got news for all of you Obama haters, if the Republicans don't clean up their act and drastically change their image, Mr. President Obama will be serving another term. So I'll enjoy all of you haters agonize in misery for the next 8 years. Ha Ha

    June 5, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  16. JCP

    To those of you who are complaining about the First Lady joining the President on his trip, stop complaining for the sake of complaining. Every First Lady has done this before her, including Laura Bush, Barbara Bush, Pat Nixon, Betty Ford and every other REPUBLICAN First Lady ever.

    It is clear that Reblicans are criticizing the Obamas just for criticism sake. You do not have any valid arguments about them so you choose to be petty, vindictive and malicious.

    Grown up !

    It is George Bush's fault we are in this mess, not President Obama.

    President Obama is trying to do his best to deal with the disasterS Bush left for not only President Obama, but for the entire country.

    Republicans should stop behaving like spolied brats and start working with the President to resolve the issues that need resolving.

    Being vindictive, divisive, alarmist, whiners, alarmists, racists and flat out liars will not get the Republicans anywhere, except on a path to self destruction.

    June 5, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  17. anderson n carolina

    Congradulations CNN...you managed to give a forum to all the wingnuts to post their ugly and ignorant comments. CNN News=Fox News.

    June 5, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  18. CC

    You know this is the kind of crap I don't like. I did not vote for her and why does she need a "Cheif of Anything". I just love the way Politics just basically assumes they have a right to do what they want. Why can't First Ladies be just that and not try to change policies for their own causes. I think this can back fire on a President and a fine example of this is Jimmy Carter the Peanut Farmer. Who when in office let Roslyn have a major input on the decision making process and look what happened, when his re-election occurred every one turned on him and he was gone. First ladies should just look nice, be sweet, support their husbands and shut up!!!!

    June 5, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. Derka Derr

    Yeah all the Republicans hard at work.....working for others....what a laugh. Get a job guys. Get a life.

    June 5, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    There is a reason why I and many others do not watch FOX News or listen to talk radio. Lately all that has come from the right on these blogs are FOX News and talk radio parrots.

    For the past month you parrots have done nothing but criticize, including the FLOTUS, the First Daughters, and the dog. Just how many of you are really as shallow as your comments make you out to be is anyones guess. But, whether your constant barrage of nonsence makes you more of a Christian IS debatable.

    So many of you have repeated lie after lie after lie. You do it knowingly and without conscience. How Christian is that, I wonder?

    No need to comment. This is my last blog on CNN.

    June 5, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  21. PJinDC

    I'll say this about Michelle Obama: though I'm not a supporter of the President's politically I think his First Lady is an truly impressive woman. She defines what the modern mother/professional is... she is incredibly bright, sophisticated, educated, informed, aware, concerned, and appears genuine and sincere. She is able to do what few men could, which is to be a successful part of the working world while also being a dedicated mom who is present for her children. Those of us who have wives just like her can respect and admire her class and grace even if we don't agree with her huband's politicics.

    And to the mental midget who said she's the ugliest First Lady: c'mon. Give me a break. The woman is elegant, classy, and seems imminently approachable. She always looks lovely and we should all be as proud and impressed at the quality of the First Lady as we were with Mrs. Bush. Beauty can be found in many forms and Michelle Obama is very much a beautiful lady.

    June 5, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  22. Barb

    CNN, what a deceptive headline. Shame on you.

    June 5, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  23. Mark in Miami

    I can bet Michelle Obama could be rather difficult.

    June 5, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  24. Too True For You

    "Chicago cronyism" – really? That is what you haters call this? We can plainly see ANY move by the Obamas will be torn apart by the conservative dog pack, but this is almost funny. Bush surrounds himself with unqualified yes men, Cheney passes billion dollar favors to his company, the Bush administration breaks fair labor laws trying to politicize the judiciary, and you doofuses complain about the First Lady bringing on someone she is comfortable with to be her right hand assistant? Not only is your grasp of the facts as tenuous as it typically is for a conservative. your sense of perspective is also similarly whacked.

    June 5, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  25. Fair is Fair


    Really sorry to see you go. We don't see eye to eye on very much, but I can say your comments showed thought. I'll miss you.

    June 5, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
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