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. Dave

    why does she have a staff? Does she pay their saleries out of her own pocket?

    June 5, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  2. deb

    Wow! The hate, stupidity and just plain ignorance on these boards regarding the Obamas is appalling (and scary).

    June 5, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  3. Pat in IL

    What's the beef? One took another job, and another was brought in to replace her. Big deal. As far as being from Chicago.....so what? Everybody is from some place, and since Michelle is from Chicago, there are more people there that she knows well. Remember all the cronies from Texas that GW brought in. Some were just friends and not qualified for the jobs. At least this woman is qualified.

    June 5, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  4. Darth Vadik, CA

    Signs of hope (for the economy).....

    Doesn't it feel better, even you right wingers who are "Percy Weasly" like, read the Harry Potter books 5 and 6, to have a President that you know is competent, won't blunder his words, a President who is not on a mission to cause wars, wont put unqualified bossom buddies in responsible positions.

    Doesn't it just feel better.

    Even the job economy is looking better, believe me, I know. And its just eating you (Percy Weaslys) from the inside that Obama can do it, and 8 years of Republican rule did not do squat except treat this country like its own personal punching bag.

    I know you feel it, but I'll give you advice (which you wont heed anyway, but I'm a Democrat, I actually try to help people when I can):

    "Don't be a Percy Weasly"

    June 5, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  5. AD

    To Grin and Bare it,

    She is the first lady. She has not official role. All first ladies have a staff. She is doing nothing different. Tell me why do you really think this is news!!!

    You have never heard anything about the previous staff members for other first ladies. I am sure they come and go as well.

    Get the heck over it!!!!!!!!!!

    June 5, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  6. Bea

    The majority of comments noted here is offensive and work to incite narrow-mindedness, bigotry and racism. It's amazing how a tiny story generated so much angst and disgust. You use these platforms for smear campaigns and sowing seeds of hatred and fear. It really shows through your words what your characters are about. The nastiness and hatemongering that goes on in these comment/chat rooms is horrendous. This is not "Freedom of speech." You have turned it into "Freedom to spew out hatred of anything unlike you." This is racism in its purest form. Spewing venom in cyberspace and incite the ignorant to action. We are entitled to our opinions of course but to use those opinions to spew venomous words towards others in the name of free speech is a copout. Instead of focusing on subjects or topics, this platform is being used to launch personal attacks. If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him. This is not what the Founding Fathers of the Declaration of Independence had in mind with the First Amendment

    June 5, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  7. Melissa

    My god, look at the hatred being spewed by Republicans on here. How can you people function properly? You are just so angry and hateful.

    June 5, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    You say that CNN reviews these emails for posting. Why would you let half of these emails even go through? Some of these emails are not appropriate and very offensive to not to we the people but our government. Please review emails more carefully.

    June 5, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  9. Ken

    Republicans have not been sucessful to go after Obama, now they go after his wife saying how ugly she is......she might be, beauty is upon the beholder but one thing I know for sure is she has alot of beauty in his head by being educated....

    Get it?

    June 5, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  10. RI HOPE

    magella – "not everyone has ties to the political machine or organized crime." True, I'm sure... but I'm not so sure that you would include the Obama's in that group. Let's not forget all the "cronies" that helped him wade through the political machine, that is Chicago. Rev. Wright (Obama joined the church for purely political reasons, he obviously is not even a Christian), W. Ayers (how much more corrupt can you get!), Rezko (he was convicted of corruption!), to name a few. And, how about his ties to Blagoavich(?)? I don't think Obama is as "clean" as you suggest.

    June 5, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  11. Hank B

    President Obama and the first lady are not perfect, but then again who is? For any small mistake they may have made, Geprge Bush made 25 big ones.

    June 5, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  12. MLK

    Think about it! I am a patriot and a retired military Veteran. My son was born in Hawaii and he has a real birth certificate. You call this cocky arrogant muslim a leader. The only thing he has done was a community project. The only reason and the only reason this birth question is not brought out in public is this sad excuse of a MEDIA we have. If he had the nads to come out of the closet with this opinions may vary about him. He will destroy what we have and he has a great start already. God help and please save us!!!!!!!!!!

    June 5, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  13. brad

    Not sure what's the big deal. Norris is moving on to another post. Seems good about it. Michele now hires a trusted friend. Good for her. Who wouldn't?

    June 5, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  14. AP


    All first ladies have a staff. And it's always paid for by our tax dollars.

    June 5, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  15. Jim Pavo

    The (Socialist) Democratic Party members are blind to the weaknesses of our President and the First Lady!

    June 5, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  16. Fed up

    This is why i refuse to watch CNN anymore and took one last opportunity to go online to see if anything has changed and it hasn't. Staying with CNN means missing more important news thats relevant to the rest of the world. Continue with CNN and you're bound to be misinformed and angry!

    June 5, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  17. Dawn in Pa

    Here we go again, the article is about the FLOTUS Chief of Staff, then it goes to the Unemployment to gas to the Stimulas.... First things first, if you are offered a better job, would you take it, as for the Unemployment, President Obama made it clear, it could get worse before it gets better and the gas, well it does takes fuel to fly a plane.

    If you know anyone who lived through the Great Depression, please talk to them, we had never learned as a Country. It took about ten years until people went back to work, then WW2 happened.

    People this all happened because of deregulation of the Banking system, bad loans and the high Credit Card interest. How many people got a pre-approved Credit Card application and the interest was what 23%

    As for First lady Michelle Obama, she is beautiful and well liked around the world. Her clothing is what she likes, you wear clothing you like, sheesh get a freaking life. If she wears an outfit from an unknown designer and she says the name, well he or she will be a very rich person.

    Now for her Chief of Staff, they do however change jobs, it is not uncommon...

    June 5, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  18. ~~ July ~~

    To all those haters of the Obamas ...... I bet you are saying to yourselfs that you are all color blind. No you are not .... you can fool yourself into thinking it but reality is you are trouble with color.

    To hate the President ... ok I understand that. He is the one making the policies and not everyone will 'love' him or like him or care for him. It is your right to not think highly of him. After all we all voted.

    But ..........

    To hate the First Lady?? To call her names and make fun of her looks?? To call her every horrible thing you can think of ' (without sounding like a racist' of course) .... it speechless. I am ashame of you ... no I am ashame FOR you. Stop for a minute and think about your views for a woman that did not ask to be a public figure. That puts FAMILY first ... that is warm and giving and smart. She respects everyone and the history of the White House. She along with her family are going to be in the White House for 4 or 8 yrs ..... Give her a chance just like we gave every single First Lady a chance.

    The little girls ..... 7 and 10 yrs old are being slam too??? Little school girls that are trying to live a 'normal' life. That NEVER try to be in the spotlight and when they are ... they behave. YOU are trashing kids for not reason other than to make your 'color blind' remarks show how 'brave' you are for speaking out against the President.

    like I said ...... I am speechless

    June 5, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  19. Gary

    What a hoot!! Libs accussing CNN of not being liberal enough ! Of course, previous first ladies have had chiefs of staff. I would be interested in why the Norris lady is gone. Obviously, the new C of S, is qualified, she just got her Masters in ACORNomics. The first lady is a real hotty! There, you like that better! Maybe some of are trying to get on the View so you can trade lies with BW and WG. Hate speech? Dems and Libs have tried for decades to keep minorities down and uneducated so they will be dependent on the government and keep voting for them. Besides, the Dems have been doing so well running things, USPS, Amtrak, Federal Reserve and so on, ad nauseum. Fanatics who are willing to die for their cause will be running things soon enough.

    June 5, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. playlist

    Symptoms: mean and hateful....whine all the time..

    GOP = Group of Psychotics..haven't had their Oxycontin today??

    June 5, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  21. ChicagoJosh

    Jackie Norris is an incredibly sweet person. I met her in Iowa during the campaign. Everyone in the Des Moines office would turn to her for leadership, but she was such a humble lady. She was told me that she was just a soccer mom and high school history teacher. She didn't understand all the big fuss around her and she planned to continue with her simple life once the campaign ended. But she really liked Obama, and wanted to do all she could.

    I'm not sure if anyone understands why this is some breaking news story. I'm sure they just found a place where Jackie will be able to make a bigger difference. Good luck Jackie!

    June 5, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  22. Darth Vadik, CA

    @all republicans

    stop trying to sound smart, you really don't

    ...Curly Sues....

    June 5, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. Paul from Phoenix

    This is why I don't associate myself with a party anymore.

    It's funny reading these posts every day. Libs are accusing repubs of being incredibly angry, yet libs have been angry since election day 2000. Now that they got their way, they aren't angry, but repubs are.

    Both parties are hypocrits, both have too much hate, and both need to realize that their leaders don't care about them as much as the power we bestow on them through elections. Obama, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, they all care the same about the people, which is enough to get themselves re-elected. And if you truly don't believe that, then you should go work in Washington for a summer. It is the easiest lesson to learn.


    June 5, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  24. LacrosseMom

    @ "Sick of the right-wing-idiot...." ....... I agree with you. The FACT is that there IS some good news regarding jobs!

    That IT IS THE LOWEST SINCE September 2008, is good news!

    Also, there is a little known FACT, that during the "Twin Recessions" of '81 & '82 ..... we had the SAME numbers of unemployed. (Reagan was president from 1981-1989)

    June 5, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  25. MSC

    Educate yourselves......

    Anita McBride – Laura Bush's Chief of Staff
    Andi Ball – Laura Bush's First Chief of Staff who left just after the 2004 election to move back home to Texas, she had been Laura's Executive Assistant while they lived in Texas.

    Was that a "shakeup" Was that cronyism? Or is that because they are Democrats? Women? From Chicago or Black?

    Michelle Obama is not the first "First Lady" to have a Chief of Staff, - First Lady's have Chief's of Staff who manage their activites, help with the social activities and other stuff we require a first lady to do.

    Why is it that people read cronyism? Every single resident of the White House brings people they have worked with and trust into their world, wouldn't you?

    Every First Lady travels with her husband and serves as a representative of the United States.

    I am so shocked that people are so uniformed and more importantly, believe the garbage and nonsense that is spewed forth in spam emails and by shock jockies.

    Take responsiblity to learn and educate yourselves in the truth. If you did you would see that politicians from all parties do not have as much hatred and distrust of each other as you do.

    That we all need to work together and stop the blaming to make things better.

    June 5, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12