First Lady Chief of Staff Susan Sher, (l), her son, author Graham Moore (center) White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett (r) at Washington book party for Moore's book, "The Sherlockian" (photo by Lynn Sweet)
WASHINGTON--Susan Sher is First Lady Michelle Obama's chief of staff, but the title that seems most apt for her lately is proud mom: Sher's son, first-time novelist Graham Moore, author of "The Sherlockian" was feted twice here: at the residence of the vice president last Wednesday and at book party Monday that drew a "who's who's" crowd.
Second Lady Jill Biden hosted a rare personal party in the home--well decorated for the holidays, down to stockings on the fireplace--a tribute to her friendship with Sher, who is stepping down early next year and returning to Chicago.
Sher had mentioned to Mrs. Biden her son's book was coming out and, Mrs. Biden told her guests she suggested "let's have a party! That's what friends do for each other." Mrs. Biden noted Moore dedicated his book--a mystery about a mystery--to his mom, "who taught me to love mysteries when I was eight years old."
When it was her turn to speak Sher gave the book a rave review: "It's a page-turner," she said. Said Moore, 29, Chicago raised and a graduate of the University of Chicago Lab School: "It turns out the coolest part is that your mom is so proud of you."
The Biden reception drew Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki of Japan, attorney Bob Barnett, a bunch of journalists and, of course Vice President Biden, who came down the stairs a bit late. Explained Biden, "I know it's an old excuse, but I was on the phone with the president."
Also looking on: White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, one of Sher's best friends--the two met while working for Mayor Daley in City Hall--who has known Moore--one of two Sher sons----since he was a kid. The crowd included members of Sher's family: her husband, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Neil Cohen and her father, Dr. Charles Steiner, in from New Jersey.
Jarrett--who called herself Moore's "other mother" was one of the co-hosts of the Monday night book party, and she related how "I met Graham 21 years ago when Susan and I had offices next to each other working in Mayor Daley's corporation counsel's office."
Among a Chicago-connected gang present: Daley City Hall alums Susan Kurland, now Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs of the Department of Transportation; Cindy Moelis, director of the President's Commission on White House Fellowships with her husband, Robert Rivkin, DOT's top counsel; U of C Lab school alum David Katz, now with the Department of Energy and Peter and Judy Kovler, with long-time ties to the U of C.
Also there: Israel's Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren and his wife, Sally. The other hosts were all high powered D.C. women: Hilary Rosen (the party was at her house), Anita McBride, who was former First Lady Laura Bush's chief of staff, Tammy Haddad, Rhoda Glickman, Anne Fleming and Anita Dunn, a former White House top communications strategist.
Moore hits Chicago Thursday for events at 7 p.m.
at the Book Cellar
4736-38 North Lincoln Ave.
and on Friday December 10 at 7 p.m. at
Centuries & Sleuths
7419 W. Madison St.
in Forest Park.
Jarrett and Sher--who live across the hall from each other in a Georgetown building were together when they got a copy of the book, Sher said, and when she saw the dedication, what did the two high powered women do: "Valerie and I sat and we did cry, both of us."