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First Lady Michelle Obama has a larger staff than previous first ladies-Fiction!

Summary of the eRumor:  
This is an email that contains a list of 22 staff members under First Lady Michelle Obama along with their salaries.  The email alleges that  "There has never been anyone in the White House at any time that has created such an army of staffers whose sole duties are the facilitation of the First Lady's social life."  It also says that former First Lady Hillary Clinton had three, Jackie Kennedy had one and Laura Bush only had one staff member.
 

The Truth:  

The allegations that former first ladies from previous administrations had smaller staffs is Fiction! - at least in the cases of Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton.  

On July 1, 2009 the White House released a 29 Page long ANNUAL REPORT TO CONGRESS ON WHITE HOUSE OFFICE STAFF. This report in Adobe PDF format can be found on the Executive Mansion website: Click for report. 

From it, TruthorFiction.com confirmed the following staff members, job titles as they appeared in the report and annual salaries.  Please note that some of the below job titles do not indicate clearly if they are directly under the President or the First Lady :

Sher,  Susan              Assistant To The President and Chief of Staff to the First Lady 172,200

Frye, Jocelyn C          Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Policy and Projects For the Fist Lady     140,000

Rogers, Desiree G.     Special Assistant to the President and White House Social Secretary 113,000
 
Johnston, Camille Y.   Special Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the First Lady    102,000

Winter, Melissa E.      Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief Of Staff to the First Lady   102,000
  
Medina, David S.         Deputy Chief Of Staff to the First Lady   90,000

Lelyveld, Catherine M.  Director and Press Secretary to the First Lady  84,000

Starkey, Frances M.    Director of Scheduling and Advance for the First Lady  75,000

Sanders, Trooper         Deputy Director of Policy and Projects for the First Lady  70,000

Burnough, Erinn J.       Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary    65,000

Reinstein, Joseph B.    Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary   65,000

Goodman, Jennifer R.   Deputy Director of Scheduling and Events Coordinator For The First Lady  62.000

Fitts, Alan O.              Deputy Director of Advance and Trip Director for the First Lady   60,000

Lewis, Dana M.           Special Assistant and Personal Aide to the First Lady    60,000

Mustaphi, Semonti M.  Associate Director and Deputy Press Secretary To The First Lady   52,500

Jarvis, Kristen E.         Special Assistant for Scheduling and Traveling Aide To The First Lady   50,000

Lechtenberg, Tyler A.   Associate Director of Correspondence For The First Lady    45,000

Tubman, Samantha      Deputy Associate Director  45,000

Boswell, Joseph J.       Executive Assistant to the Chief Of Staff to the First Lady    $40,000

Armbruster, Sally M.    Staff Assistant to the Social Secretary   36,000

Bookey, Natalie          Staff Assistant    $36,000

Jackson, Deilia A.       Deputy Associate Director of Correspondence for the First Lady   36,000

 

First Ladies of the White House have no official job description. In an October 25, 2004 PBS program former First Lady Laura Bush said , "It's not an office; you're not elected to it."     In the same transcript, former First Lady Hillary Clinton called it a vicarious role.

The White House Museum has a First Lady page with photos with descriptions of former First Ladies meeting with staff members.  Nancy Reagan, Laura Bush  showing a variation in numbers that would conflict with the numbers indicated by Williams' blog. 

The museum page said that former first lady Hillary Clinton had a staff of twenty in addition to fifteen interns and volunteers. The museum also said that Eleanor Roosevelt had two staff members, Malvina Thompson and social secretary Edith Helm.  

Click for White House Museum First Lady Page.

Most of the substance of this eRumor appears in a blog on the web site of Dr. Paul L. Williams , Thelastcrusade.org. Williams told TruthorFiction.com that the last paragraph of the forwarded email was added by some unknown author who inserted his own opinion then forwarded the article as though his contribution was a part of the original. The original unchanged version can be found at: William's blog

The Last Crusade web site, according to its self description is a place for visitors to "engage in the life and death struggle against the forces of Islam, apostasy, moral complacency, cultural relativity, and the New World Order."     Also, it says that they  " abhor the teachings of such spineless and heretical pseudo-Christians as Robert Schuller, Rick Warren, and Joel Osteen."   Dr. Paul L. Williams, according to his web site bio was a former pastor a the Saint Paul's United Church of Christ in Taylor, PA who vacated his position "because the denomination was spiritually bankrupt."

updated 08/07/09

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

First Lady Requires More Than Twenty Attendants

Recession, Depression, What, Michelle Worry?

July 7, 2009

Dr. Paul L. Williams

"In my own life, in my own small way, I have tried to give back to this country that has given me so much," she said. "See, that's why I left a job at a big law firm for a career in public service, " Michelle Obama

No, Michele Obama does not get paid to serve as the First Lady and she doesn't perform any official duties. But this hasn't deterred her from hiring an unprecedented number of staffers to cater to her every whim and to satisfy her every request in the midst of the Great Recession. Just think Mary Lincoln was taken to task for purchasing china for the White House during the Civil War. And Mamie Eisenhower had to shell out the salary for her personal secretary.

How things have changed! If you're one of the tens of millions of Americans facing certain destitution, earning less than subsistence wages stocking the shelves at Wal-Mart or serving up McDonald cheeseburgers, prepare to scream and then come to realize that the benefit package for these servants of Miz Michelle are the same as members of the national security and defense departments and the bill for these assorted lackeys is paid by John Q. Public:

1. $172,2000 - Sher, Susan (Chief Of Staff)

2. $140,000 - Frye, Jocelyn C. (Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Policy And Projects For The First Lady)

3. $113,000 - Rogers, Desiree G. (Special Assistant to the President and White House Social Secretary)

4. $102,000 - Johnston, Camille Y. (Special Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the First Lady)

5. Winter, Melissa E. (Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)

6. $90,000 - Medina, David S. (Deputy Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)

7. $84,000 - Lelyveld, Catherine M. (Director and Press Secretary to the First Lady)

8. $75,000 - Starkey, Frances M. (Director of Scheduling and Advance for the First Lady)

9. $70,000 - Sanders, Trooper (Deputy Director of Policy and Projects for the First Lady)

10. $65,000 - Burnough, Erinn J. (Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary)
11. Reinstein, Joseph B. (Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary)

12. $62,000 - Goodman, Jennifer R. (Deputy Director of Scheduling and Events Coordinator For The First Lady)

13. $60,000 - Fitts, Alan O. (Deputy Director of Advance and Trip Director for the First Lady)
14. Lewis, Dana M. (Special Assistant and Personal Aide to the First Lady)

15. $52,500 - Mustaphi, Semonti M. (Associate Director and Deputy Press Secretary To The First Lady)

16. $50,000 - Jarvis, Kristen E. (Special Assistant for Scheduling and Traveling Aide To The First Lady)

17. $45,000 - Lechtenberg, Tyler A. (Associate Director of Correspondence For The First Lady)
18. Tubman, Samantha (Deputy Associate Director, Social Office)

19. $40,000 - Boswell, Joseph J. (Executive Assistant to the Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)

20. $36,000 - Armbruster, Sally M. (Staff Assistant to the Social Secretary)
21. Bookey, Natalie (Staff Assistant)

22. Jackson, Deilia A. (Deputy Associate Director of Correspondence for the First Lady)

There has never been anyone in the White House at any time that has created such an army of staffers whose sole duties are the facilitation of the First Lady's social life. One wonders why she needs so much help, at taxpayer expense, when even Hillary, only had three; Jackie Kennedy one; Laura Bush one; and prior to Mamie Eisenhower social help came from the President's own pocket.

Note: This does not include makeup artist Ingrid Grimes-Miles, 49, and "First Hairstylist" Johnny Wright, 31, both of whom travelled aboard Air Force One to Europe.



 


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