Can I Still be Mr. Congeniality?


When the New York Times‘ Helene Cooper published her piece about “a man” possibly succeeding Julianna Smoot and before her Desiree Rogers as the next White House Social Secretary, my life changed. Listing me along with Sam Kass, Carlos Elizondo (whom I nominated), Senator Christopher Dodd, Chris Wayne and George Stevens Jr. triggered a lot of snickering across DC and through much of the northeastern corridor.
One thing was clear though: The mere prospect of possibly being the next keeper of the White House list got me invited to many more of DC top’s mix and mingle events. I’ve enjoyed the pulls this way and that as people wondered who might run the next state dinner.
When word leaked that there was a man and a woman who were the final two being considered — I got even more calls about this, more invites to exclusive events, and more muffled snickering — particularly by staff and interns who actually work in the White House.
jeremybernard.jpgI told everyone that as far as male finalists, it had to be Carlos Elizondo, who is the brilliant manager of Biden Land and Joe & Jill’s social scene. And then winked.
But now Jonathan Capehart has burst my bubble of fabulous mystique and announced that the very cool, openly gay Jeremy Bernard, a pal of Jonathan’s and currently chief of staff to the US Ambassador of France, will take over this much coveted, powerful role.
Congratulations Jeremy.
I just want everyone to know that when I showed up to the White House Monday morning, 9:30 am, the 31st of January — the day after the Cooper story ran in the New York Times, some asked if I might be there to “interview” for “the job”.
Not responding, I quickly snuck into the Egypt policy wonks meeting in the Roosevelt Room with Ben Rhodes, Dan Shapiro, and Samantha Power and chose substance over parties (though Jeremy, keep me on your list!).
Fun times — and I agree with Jonathan Capehart, Barack and Michelle Obama made a superb choice.
As a consolation prize, can I maybe be the White House’s Mr. Congeniality?”
— Steve Clemons


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