Thursday’s White House statement announcing Jackie Norris’s replacement as chief of staff to First Lady Michelle Obama did not make clear whether Norris resigned or was pushed out. My hunch was that Norris wanted out. I considered it unlikely that the first lady would have wanted to fire Norris, who has proved herself to be highly capable of managing a complex organization.
On Friday an unnamed source told Politico,
The staff shakeup in the East Wing – with Jackie Norris out as chief of staff to Michelle Obama – came because Norris wasn’t enjoying the bureaucratic part of the job and wanted a change, a senior administration official said. […]
Norris, who bonded with Obama in Iowa as an organizational force in Barack Obama’s caucus victory, didn’t like the management and scheduling duties, and the intense social component of the job, the source said.
Who can blame her?
Norris will be a senior adviser to the Corporation for National and Community Service, which does good work. It’s a less prestigious title than chief of staff for the first lady, but I hope it will be a more fulfilling and enjoyable job.
LATE UPDATE: The “Civic Skinny” political gossip columnist for Des Moines’ alternative weekly Cityview heard a different story:
Iowa’s Jackie Norris apparently lost her job as chief of staff to Michelle Obama because she – Norris – turned out to be not much of a team player. If she didn’t get her way, insiders say, she pouted or fumed or cried or threatened to hold her breath until she turned blue or whatever. That was no surprise to political people who had worked with her when she was Iowa state director for the Obama campaign – or earlier when she worked on the Al Gore and John Kerry campaigns in Iowa. But you don’t always get your way in a White House full of smart and strong-willed people. Further, she wasn’t part of the Chicago gang that runs things there – and her successor is.