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Chat > More State Dinner comments

This hearing or whatever garbage it is is rubbish and a waste of time. The SS already placed three people on leave. The bottom line is the guard at first realized they did not belong and turned them away per even eyewitness brian williams. But the crew got in by bring a camera crew and whatever they said to that guard go them in. They lied that they had an invite when they did not.

The bottom line this is not the first time they have crashed events, they get a rush out of crashing events, its their thing. Some people took that whole wedding crasher movie to a new height. You know what I rather they spend their time investigation:

1. Iraq
2. Money to private contract - Xe
3. Torture
4. Auditing the Feds
5. Derivative Trading

Now that is what they should be doing, work, work and work. But crap like two year olds. The SS have an ongoing investigation and they know they blew it. Bush administrator also stated usually if someone is not on the list, all the guard as to do is radio to the social secretary aide to come to the gate and in this case the guard did not do that.

The question is when the guard at first turned them away, WHY did he let them in without radio or checking with an aide, or did he get intimidated by the camera at the gate?

Prosecute them and get over with it. This couple loves crashing parties, they even crashed the Redskins cheer leading squad!!! Congress loves to waste time and love theatrics. This is the first time in a long time they have actually had to work and its clear they don't want to work and looking for an easy out. Now they actually have to do stuff.

Friday, December 4, 2009 at 2:31 PM | Registered Commenterbriana

On the Home page under "And to All a Good Night" Nakajima (message 86)
referred to this supportive article by Lynn Sweet regarding Desiree Rogers' role in the security breach at the State Dinner.

I think the article is thorough, thoughtful and fair, and very worth a read.

Of the many paragraphs I was tempted to copy here, I decided to limit myself to just these two:

"The events that have unfolded in the past few days, and the attacks on Rogers, reminded me of a line in the 1993 suicide note left by Vincent Foster, the deputy counsel in the Clinton White House, who observed that in Washington, "ruining people is considered sport.

"This is the Washington game where the gestalt of the town is to, as Axelrod put it, "want to get someone in the cat's paw."'

Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 4:01 PM | Registered CommenterWillow

Willow, thank you for posting that article. I admire Lynn Sweet's journalism.

In running this blog for the past year and change, I've been shocked, truthfully, by how many journalists seem eager to exploit half-truths (about the first lady, now about Desiree Rogers, sometimes even about this blog!). It's all part of the sensationalist media churn I suppose, but honestly, I can't stand it.

I appreciate a thorough, considered point of view, and I think that's exactly what Lynn Sweet has put forth. I don't know how Desiree Rogers got tangled up in this mess, but I think it's entirely unfair.

Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 4:27 PM | Registered CommenterMrs. T

I have to agree with Mrs. T---Willow, thanks so much for posting that article. It was the best synopsis of the state dinner event and Ms. Rogers thus far and I hope everyone reads it.

I've always thought that Desiree has really helped coordinate some of the best events at the White House and really has the style, class, and skill set for her position. The article also balances out her many achievements with some perception missteps coming out too visibly in the beginning of the administration, which leaves you open to undue and unneccessary scrutiny later that could embarrass the Obamas. In Washington, your profile has to be super low, and any slightest opening you are dissected and your reputation possibly ruined. The Washington world is a beast and is far from objective. The 24-hour rant "news" cable networks don't help either. Lynn Sweet had a balanced approach and presented the facts objectively and fairly.

Very well-written piece contrasting all the tabloid-type articles from this past week. I know Ms. Rogers will regroup, learn from any mistakes, and keep working hard (I read in another article recently that Desiree works 16 hours a day almost all week). I personally think she's overseen some really great events this year and should lay low, hang tough, and make each subsequent event at the WH something special.

Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 5:49 PM | Registered CommenterJanelle

The Lynn Sweet article did not mention the fact that it was Desiree that took the responsibilities away from the woman that had been in charge of the 'guest list verification' etc. and was demoted to no more than a data entry clerk then resigned in June - because of the procedure changes initiated by Desiree.

If the time tested well oiled machine (procedures) had still been in place, without the changes Desiree had made, and then a breach had occurred then it would have been a different story. But it is a FACT that Desiree had changed the way things normally worked and therefore some of the blame still lies at the feet of Ms. Desiree Rogers, in my opinion.

The below article is very important and should not be overlooked:

Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 6:19 PM | Registered CommenterLeah D

To be fair, I can see why Desiree would think there is no need to have a special person who's job is to stand behind the secret service and check names on a list. I can follow the logic that this position isn't necessarily needed. If the Secret Service had done their job right, no one would care what the ex-Bush appointee in that Newsweek article had to say, and no one would be second-guessing what can be argued was a reasonable change that Desiree instituted.

To me, the bottom line is that she cultivated too high a profile for what her position entails and that has invited this type of scrutiny. I'm glad that she's upset over this and I'm sure she is reflecting on how to avoid this type of unfortunate attention in the future.

Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 8:38 PM | Registered CommenterIVA

One could say that Ms. Rogers acted as a wise and efficient manager by removing redundancy from the system. Her efficiency had probably been recognized and valued in previous positions where she could count on people to do their jobs.

I think it was reasonable for her to expect that the SS could/would take the initiative to contact one of her staff who was in the area if there was a question about the list. The SS proved that they cannot do their job unless someone from her office is standing right next to them. Based on that, her decision seems a mistake.

But what was her mistake? Expecting the SS to perform with thoroughness? And learning later that they could/would not do so? We think of the SS as being willing to take a bullet for the President. Isn't it reasonable to expect that they would make a phone call to protect the President?

I'm glad that Lynn Sweet discusses Ms. Rogers career and her performance at the White House as a whole. I hope others begin to look at Ms. Rogers' decision as wise, but proved "wrong" only because she cannot count on those around her to do their jobs.

Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 9:19 PM | Registered CommenterWillow

IVA - I didn't see your post before I posted mine. I see that we both begin with the same idea about the reasonableness of Ms. Rogers decision.

I'm unclear about all the attention she has gotten. Did she really seek it? Or was it somehow showered on her? I wasn't paying enough attention to it to know.

Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 9:22 PM | Registered CommenterWillow

Another point that everyone here is missing (other than security issues) is that it is customary for the guests (dignitaries and family members) to be GREETED by someone from the Social Secretary's Office... and that custom/procedure was not adhered to by Desiree and her office. The WH in the past has never let only the secret service greet the guests as the arrive. So, custom has been broken and Desiree's office did not give a gracious welcome to VIPs.

Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 9:35 PM | Registered CommenterLeah D

I think you make a good point, Leah. It does seem better to have someone from the Social Office greeting dignitaries and guests.

Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 9:41 PM | Registered CommenterWillow

Willow, I think the attention was partly sought, and partly put on her. I have mentioned in the past that her interview for the New York Times magazine when she wore high fashion and talked about the "Obama brand" was tone deaf and I believe a sign of a potential political liability for the president. I believe Robert Gibbs or David Axelrod had to step in to have her not wear a more lavish outfit that she wanted to pose for pictures in. I think her showing up sitting next to Anna Wintour of Vogue for NY Fashion week was not the best move. She could have gone, but just hung back a little. So in those instances, she sought out the attention.

On the other hand, I believe she's a victim of being an attractive, single, powerful, and smart woman of color in a town that isn't use to that mix of traits all in one person. So the media gravitates to her because she's an interesting figure and because she's close to the Obamas on a personal level.

She has a very difficult balance to achieve in terms of cultivating her public persona. She's got a lot going for her so I don't think she should diminish herself, but at the same time, she has to keep herself under the radar and not become another target for the many enemies of the president. It's hard, but such is the burden of being in her position.

@ Leah D - The chief of protocol person was with the president greeting the Prime Minister and his wife. How do we know there was no one greeting guests and VIPs? I've read that there were something like 3 different entrances/levels of security...what if there was someone greeting the guests from the social secretary's office once the guests got through it all? I think it's getting to be a bit of a stretch to assume she didn't give the guests and VIPs a gracious welcome because there was no one from her office checking the guest list.

Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 10:05 PM | Registered CommenterIVA

All we know is what Desiree said herself and she said she didn't have anyone at the gates greeting the guests from her office. And as we now know, in the past administrations there was always a member of the social secretary's office there at the gates when the guests arrive.

Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 10:41 PM | Registered CommenterLeah D

IVA - Thanks for your beautiful post. I think I only read articles of the second kind you describe because I formed a very favorable impression of Desiree -- her competence, her friendship with the Obamas, and her attractive, well-tailored look. I didn't see the stuff where she seemed to draw too much attention to herself.

Yeah, after I responded that social staff would provide a more gracious greeting than SS, I was sure that someone with Desiree's class would build that into the flow of guests into the dinner.

Leah, I guess we don't know for sure that they weren't greeted by Social staff after they passed the check at the gate.

Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 11:09 PM | Registered CommenterWillow

I can't remember where .. but yesterday I read an article that said that Desiree knew the Obamas before coming to DC but NOT very well. Apparently Desiree was close friends with Valerie Jarret but not the Obamas - and it is because of Jarret that Desiree got her current position. Wish I could remember where the link is .... just thought I'd toss that tidbit out there.

Sunday, December 6, 2009 at 12:08 AM | Registered CommenterLeah D

This WHOLE ISSUES IS DUMB!! Desiree DID know Michelle and Barack before D.C. Desiree's EX HUSBAND(John Rogers) is good friends with CRAIG ROBINSON(Michelle's brother) and the President. Desiree WILL NOT LOSE HER JOB OVER THIS DUMB OVERREACTING sh*t. Its a sad day in America when people are attacking a SOCIAL SECRETARY, a party planner over security for the President. EVERY administration is DIFFERENT, DIFFERENT, so what prior administration do is irrelavant!! There is NO REQUIREMENT for Desiree to stand behind a curtain. People need to get used to the Obama Adminstration because they are DIFFERENT. The Vice President is MORE vocal than any other VP, the first lady is more prominent than anyother first lady and the social secretary looks better than the rest of the SS. I cannot wait until this BS dies down, this is just as bad as Michelle's #1 hater Robin Givhan overreacting over Michelle wearing shorts on the Today Show. The PM and his wife enjoyed, but Americans are trying to make a Social secretary reponsible over security screw up over the secret service, sad day.

The American media is the laughing stock of the world with their high school questions. From Michelle short gate, and no sleeves in February we are TRULY a dumb country. Who will be blamed next the First Lady, and if she is blamed she will just say who gives a sh*t. Also, I REALLY doubt that the White House reads this website, its just one of the millions of websites about the President and First Lady.


Yes, the secret service IS supposed to check the guest list. Secret service does background searches on the guest that come to the White House, they are EVERYWHERE.

Sunday, December 6, 2009 at 2:56 AM | Registered CommenterM.M.

Mia Monte:

I will reiterate a sentence from my previous post “it is the job of the Secret Service to protect, not check guest lists”.

Also, if someone from her office is not needed at the entrance, why are they changing policies to have someone from her office checking guest lists going forward? Ms. Rogers thought that it wasn’t needed, sees that it was, so it will be added back.

So yes, some of the blame is in her lap also!

Enough said!

Monday, December 7, 2009 at 9:39 AM | Registered Commenterjerseygirl

Are we really not over this subject, yet?

Monday, December 7, 2009 at 1:07 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

This subject is still being discussed, not only here, but still in the blogs.

So,, little sister, in answer to your question, no.

I'm enjoying reading different perspectives. Also, it sure beats the other alternative "Tiger and his 9 mistresses". Now that is a story that I am sick of.

Monday, December 7, 2009 at 4:31 PM | Registered Commenterjerseygirl

I don't want to prolong the discussion of what has already been covered here, but I just found this, which was a new perspective for me. (Forgive me if this has already been covered here.) It comes from a woman blogger (Digby) who I think is incredibly intelligent and insightful. She does write with some sarcasm, and has some choice names for the MSM (gasbags) and for the Washington establishment (the Villagers).

In this post she asserts that it's all about Mrs. Obama bringing in one of her "outsider friends" which the "Village tabbies" cannot tolerate.

"The fatuous gasbags were all atwitter yesterday that the White House is "stonewalling" to protect their "old Chicago pal" Desiree Rogers, the white house social secretary. As I said the other day, this is rapidly turning into a "travelgate" type Village scandal and someone is going to have to go down, preferably one who falls under the auspices of Michelle Obama, who has clearly made some kind of social error.

"Just as Travelgate was about Hillary Clinton failing to respect the social pecking order by installing old Arkansas friends in a job in which the press had a personal stake, (Ryan's comments about "overshadowing" notwithstanding) I'm pretty sure this is about Michelle and "her pal" somehow not respecting the pecking order and failing to understand just how sacrosanct are the invitation lists to the White House. (You'll recall that Michelle had a press avail the day of the state dinner and mentioned that she regretted not being able to invite everyone, which I thought was rather odd at the time.)

"The lesson has long been clear. You do not mess with the Village tabbies. They have far more power than you might think."

Monday, December 7, 2009 at 4:51 PM | Registered CommenterWillow

I wrote earlier that the Desiree issue, when it comes to how the MSM and members of Congress, particularly Republicans are treating it, is all about getting at Michelle Obama. The MSM and Obama opponents would love to have another "for the first time in my adult life..." storm to pounce on. If they could get Desiree to testify, and subject her to a bunch of irrelevant questions related to how the Obamas plan events, how many events, how much they cost, if they're lavish, and so on (you get my drift) then this could become a larger "scandal" of how Michelle Obama and the East Wing are "out of touch" in the way they plan events.

So while I think Desiree made certain moves which opened her up and put the target on her back, I never felt she should testify or that she should lose her job - not in the least.

But this little incident with Desiree, IMO, is a good glimpse into what the Obamas are up against regarding the establishment in D.C. This last paragraph of your comment, Willow - ""The lesson has long been clear. You do not mess with the Village tabbies. They have far more power than you might think." - sums it up well.

The Obamas are outsiders and will always be viewed as such. Everything Barack Obama has been able to achieve in terms of getting to the presidency has been from him and from his supporters, some of whom have been high-profile. But he has never been able to rely on the establishment, and in fact has achieved the presidency in spite of the establishment and MSM. And now that he's governing, it is becoming clearer and clearer (to me, anyway) that the quicker the establishment can get rid of him, the better for them. That's why they started talking about 2010 a month after he was sworn in, that's why we're talking 2012 less than a year into his presidency, and that's why he's being polled about everything and anything everyday. The MSM wants the big ratings a big election will bring, and the establishment doesn't like that he's pushing some uncomfortable issues in their face. Their corruption is out in the open now and I'm sure they're not happy about it.

So I think of this party-crashergate as an opening for MSM to run with nonsense, and the establishment to get some hits in on the administration.

In the end, Democrats on the House Homeland Committee aren't going to subpoena Desiree, so I hope this is over now. I think everyone involved has learned a lot and has received a wake up call.

Monday, December 7, 2009 at 8:05 PM | Registered CommenterIVA

@ IVA--as always and once again, you've summed it all up very thoughtfully and nicely.

Monday, December 7, 2009 at 8:52 PM | Registered CommenterJanelle

IVA - I'm sorry that I didn't pick up on everything that was written on this thread before I entered the discussion. (Brain fog is a major symptom of CFS and Fibro, and the fog was particularly thick during the early part of this discussion after my fall.) I was only able to get that there was quite a vigorous debate between people criticizing and people defending Desiree. I'm also sorry that I may never have the clarity to go back and study this whole thread.

Upon reading your post here, I vaguely recall your saying something about the Obama's being seen as outsiders. I appreciate your insight about the fodder the Republicans may be fishing for in their attempt to get Desiree to testify. I had not thought about that.

I have a slightly different take on the talk about the 2010 and 2012 elections than you do. Coming from my position on the left, I was absolutely overjoyed to see the enthusiasm that swept Obama into office, and the fact that so many young people were introduced to political activism as Democrats. Many of us hoped that all those young people would be with the party for life.

If my memory serves me right, talk of the interim elections and the next presidential election early in a president's first term is not unusual. Both parties begin to plan for holding or taking seats in congress as early as possible. This time, liberals had hoped that they could hold their majorities, based on the enthusiasm and hope in this historic presidency and the boldness he promised during the campaign.

I agree that the Republicans want Obama out of office as quickly as possible, not only because he's a democrat, but also because he's black. They see him as a threat to what I consider to be their totally "upside-down" values. But, I think that liberals worry about the coming elections because from their vantage point, they feel that President Obama has made too many decisions that look too centrist or appointed too many people who are too entrenched in the corruption that has lead us to our current mess.

I only today returned to the President Obama thread. I had not been there since my last post, so I saw nothing after that until today. I will try to respond to some of your comments there, and also to Sharon's, and explain why I left and where I was coming from. I hope that you will give my attempts a read there.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 8:39 PM | Registered CommenterWillow


I don't plan on engaging you in political discussion, so don't worry about explaining where you and "the left" are coming from. I'm truly finished with that thread and that type of discussion with you. Basically, I'm really tired of hearing how oh so disappointed you guys are. And how oh so unhappy you are with the president. And how oh so upset and disenchanted and how your enthusiasm for the Democrats is gone for 2010 and maybe forever because of the president's centrism or whatever. Y'all on "the left" aren't the only ones with ideas for our society. You're not the only ones hurting in this economy. You're not the only ones scared about Afganistan. I'm tired of y'all acting like your disappointments are the only ones that matter.

Anyway, that's my piece - sorry to put it on this thread, but I'm not going into the "President Obama" thread again. I think you and I should keep our conversations light and limited because I just don't have the patience to continue talking past each other. We're on the same side, we just have different ideas about getting to our similar goals. We can do our own thing and hopefully end up together when it really counts.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 10:06 PM | Registered CommenterIVA

When President Obama began his transition, he was warned to stay away from the Washington insiders . To a large extent he did, but did include some like Gregory Craig.

I read an article by Elizabeth Drew (pretty sure it was her) in which she railed against Obama because of his wretched treatment of Craig and how this is going to cost him support from "important" people in Washington.

Reminds me of the end of the primary when the Democratic campaigns were attempting to mesh together and some of Hillary's elite donors balked and tried to force Obama into honoring their demands for influence. He didn't and he managed well on the financial area without them. One lady joined McCain but bombed out on her first appearance by haughtily belittling the "little people."

Sally Quinn wrote much later about a meeting arranged by Teresa Heinz Kerry between Michelle and her mother in the early spring and some of these "important" women of Washington. Made it sound like a ritual for first ladies and said she had witnessed others before Michelle, but Michelle was the first who was not wary of them and exhibited confidence not only that she would like them, but also that they would like her.

Other than that I've seen little evidence of the Obamas mixing with the elite of Washington. They seem more intent in bringing in the children of Washington instead. Drew also pouted that the Obamas only want to socialize with their close friends and family. That is true and is classic Obama.

I spoke out somewhat against Desiree Rogers before. Changed my mind. AP had an article that gave a more in depth interview with John Rogers, her ex. Sounds like a woman with a great deal of talent wedded to ambition and one willing to put in the hard work necessary to achieve, which she has repeatedly done. Other than the flurry at the beginning, she has kept a lower profile while utilizing her talent in amazing productions for the White House.

Desiree Rogers was a part of a group that the Obamas for years had been lesser players in. Rogers and Valerie Jarrett were top stars and heavily involved in socializing in Chicago. Though involved with the larger circle, the Obamas preferred a tighter nucleus of the Nesbitts, the Whitakers and Jarrett to socialize with on a fairly consistent basis. They have followed through with that since coming to Washington.

This is the man I voted for, the one who wants to change the world, not one who wants to have a great time socializing in Washington. And the elite Washington insiders cannot stand this.

I have absolutely NO interest in discussing upcoming elections. Everything is in flux at the moment--too many things moving through legislation and so on to be able to have a decent conversation about the elections--only speculations--more important matters to attend to.

Willow, please do NOT try to explain yourself again. I know EXACTLY where you are coming from and do not want to witness again your agonizing attempts at trying to make me "understand." I do understand perhaps better than you do.

Willow, what I would like you to do is to go back to where that thread ended to where Iva sets forth a set of criteria that she asks you to respond to--to which many others of us went silent except to aver that we, too, would like you to address these things. If you cannot do that, then I suggest you stay away from politics in your discussions here.

Willow, I am inclined to believe the story you tell that you experience brain fog. The writings i refer to above would seem to verify that--to me anyway. Politics require a clear head.

Willow, this is not meant as a put down, just a suggestion that you stay away from politics here. Stick with other topics in which you have shown great insights that enlighten us.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 11:40 PM | Registered CommenterSharon Nelson