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WASHINGTON--White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers told me Friday she will step down next month, after presiding over 330 events in the White House in 14 months.

Rogers is departing after achieving a major goal of President Obama and First Lady Michelle -- opening up the White House to make it the "peoples house."

"As we turn the corner on the first year," Rogers told me, "this is a good time for me to explore opportunities in the corporate world."

Rogers told me it has been "an honor and a privilege to serve this president and First Lady, in what has certainly been a historic presidency."

Rogers, a friend of the First Couple for years, was one of the first Obama administration appointees.

"When I took on this assignment, we talked about the importance of creating the people's house. My work was really to create this framework," she told me.

"I think I completed that work. Our office has been able to lay the foundation for what will be known as the 'people's house' and it has already taken shape."

Rogers tenure was marked by high points--she was a moving force behind a White House music series--and a low point, when the Obama's first state dinner was crashed by a publicity seeking couple, Tareq and Michaele Salahi. Though the Secret Service immediately said it was their fault--agents did not follow security protocols--Rogers got some of the blame.

I asked Rogers if the Salahi episode was a factor in her resignation. "The incident at the State Dinner was not a deciding factor," she told me. "But it did show me a side of the job and of Washington that I had not seen before."

After I spoke to Rogers, President Obama and First Lady Michelle said in a statement, "We are enormously grateful to Desiree Rogers for the terrific job she's done as the White House Social Secretary. When she took this position, we asked Desiree to help make sure that the White House truly is the People's House, and she did that by welcoming scores of everyday Americans through its doors, from wounded warriors to local schoolchildren to NASCAR drivers. She organized hundreds of fun and creative events during her time here, and we will miss her. We thank her again for her service and wish her all the best in her future endeavors."

I've been told by several sources that Rogers will be replaced by Julianna Smoot, the chief of staff to the U.S. Trade Representative who was the Obama presidential campaign chief fund-raiser.

WASHINGTON — Sen. Barack Obama staked a claim to the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday, sweeping Oregon but getting trounced by Sen. Hillary Clinton in Kentucky, exposing problems he might face in winning middle-class white votes in the fall campaign.

Obama traveled to Iowa, the swing state that handed him his first victory — crucial to establishing his viability — to mark at an outdoor rally in Des Moines the milestone of having won the majority of pledged delegates. He said he is “within reach” of the nomination, though he is short of the 2,026 delegates needed to clinch.

WASHINGTON--John Edwards is dropping his presidential bid, deciding he had little chance of being resurrected on Feb. 5 "Super Tuesday" votes. Meanwhile, Caroline Kennedy, who already cut a commerical spot for Barack Obama is traveling with him on Wednesday to rallies in Denver and Arizona.

Who does this help? Edwards departure cuts both ways for Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

Here's why.

DES MOINES, IA.--For months, White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who won the Iowa caucus a few minutes ago, ended his rallies with a cry "Fired Up! Ready to Go!"

Now the crowd here at Hy-Vee Hall, watching the returns on big screen tvs here,with Obama clinching, is chanting Obama's signature "fired up" closing.

Some notes and quotes:

From senior strategist David Axelrod on the Obama win: "It'ss very significant. It’s the first contest. We started out very far behind," he said (However, that was only true in national polls. In Iowa the race was always close between Obama, John Edwards and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The is "very very meaningful. What it means is I think there is a real market for the kind of leadership Sen. Obama is offering. I think people want to be unified as a country and get past this divisive politics that has riddled us for so long," Axelrod said.

NEW YORK--UPDATE-With the hostage crisis in her New Hampshire office resolved, Sen. Hilllary Rodham Clinton holds a press availability in Portsmouth, NH Friday night at 9:15 Chicago time.

There is a hostage situation involving a bomb threat at the Hillary Rodham Clinton headquarters on Main St. in Rochester, NH.--and staffers in the Barack Obama's office a few doors down have been evacuated, the Obama campaign said. A man walked into the Clinton office claiming to have a bomb strapped on his chest. MSNBC is reporting he wants to speak to Clinton.

The Clinton campaign released a brief statement: "There is an ongoing situation in our Rochester, NH office. We are in close contact with state and local authorities and are acting at their direction. We will release additional details as appropriate."

The Manchester, NH Union Leader is updating. LINK

The paper is reporting: In an interview with WMUR, Lettie Tzizik, an employee of a nearby medical supply company, said a woman who had been released with her small child by the intruder fled to her nearby worksite to seek help. The woman said a man with pepper-and-salt hair in his 40s with what appeared to be a bomb duct-taped to his chest had entered the office and ordered everyone onto the floor

Clinton is in Des Moines. Obama, who started Friday in Manhattan, traveled to suburban Washington on Friday to appear before a meeting of the Democratic National Committee.

SUNNYVALE, CALIF.--Greetings from Silicon Valley. White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) hosts a townhall meeting Wednesday afternoon at Google's headquarters in Mountain View. He'll unveil his "innovation agenda" LINK and then head north for fund-raising in San Francisco.

( One stop for a low-dollar funder is at the Bill Graham auditorium, named after the legandary rock concert promoter from the Joplin, Jefferson Airplane era).

On the Google front--Google has hosted six other Democratic and Republican candidates, including Obama chief rivals Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.). Obama will stress his backing for "network neutrality," a big internet issue in Congress, pledge to appoint a Technology czar and express his hope the next Google is made in the U.S.A.

excerpts below....

WASHINGTON--Barack Obama hits four Iowa cities on Wednesday, in the first caucus state until Sunday.

WASHINGTON—White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama heads to Iowa later Tuesday for the start of a five-day swing.

For a look at Obama’s TV appearences on SNL, Ellen, etc, check out a report by ABC News Obamanarian David Wright LINK

Obama hit the Caribbean on Monday for fund-raisers in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. AP reports LINK

WASHINGTON--Presuming, perhaps, that he will be the Democratic nominee, White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) plans a "One Year from 2008 Election" speech Saturday in South Carolina, where he will, according to his campaign "Lay Out the Choice Facing Voters"

WASHINGTON-- Seven Democrats face off for the eighth time at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Nine times, if the AFL-CIO forum in Chicago's Soldier Field is counted.

The two hour debate starts at 8 p.m. Chicago time on MSNBC. The session will be moderated by Brian Williams, joined by Tim Russert. Mike Gravel was not invited.

WASHINGTON--A segment taped earlier featuring White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) airs today on the Ellen Degeneres Show. LINK

Obama's Illinois team in Springfield to file for Illinois ballot and hold press conference. Clinton Illinois team will also be filing their slate, hold presser.

Obama web chat won MTV/MySpace Dialogue at Coe College. Online 1:30 p.m. eastern airs MTV 7 p.m. LINK

PORTSMOUTH, N.H.--After speaking at a rally in Dover Wednesday night, White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) headed back to Chicago.

PORTSMOUTH, N.H.--White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) cancelled a morning house party in Rochester, N.H. in order to return to Washington for Senate votes on the children-of- immigrant-related DREAM act sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)

I'm up here anyway--after winding up reporting duties in Boston last night, at a rally on Boston Common with Obama and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick--because every hotel in Boston and nearby suburbs is sold out, perhaps related to the World Series.

Obama and some other presidential contenders files candidate papers in New Hampshire today.

for schedule, click below...

HIGHLAND PARK, ILL.--White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) returns to Los Angeles on Wednesday to tape Jay Leno, Ellen and Tavis Smiley.

Here's the convoluted way the campaign puts this information out.

These television appearences on not on the Obama schedule for Wednesday. Instead, the campaign does give a heads up about a story at that has the scoop about upcoming L.A. political fund-raisers etc. with Obama, Clinton and Edwards.

HIGHLAND PARK, ILL.--Obama roams Iowa talking about rural agenda. Press conference Tuesday morning in Fairfax, Ia.

click below for sked...

WASHINGTON--White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) flies north on Monday for a big fund-raising rally near the beautiful campus of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Sweet's Obamaville: In Iowa.

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WASHINGTON---The official theme on Friday for White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is the anniversary of the 2002 Senate vote to authorize the Iraq war.

Subthemes not planned by the Obama message team that are ripening:

1. His skipped vote on the Iran terrorist measure. He was against it (Clinton for it) but was campaigning in New Hampshire and did not vote.

2. Chatter about whether winning the Nobel Peace Prize will get Al Gore in the 2008 race.

click for sked...

CHICAGO (O'HARE AIRPORT)--Only clue on official Obama sked today is this. In Chicago and no public events.

HIGHLAND PARK, ILL.--White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) logs some jet hours on Wednesday....Hits a rally in Prince Georges County, MD., a wealthy African-American majority county.


click below for the sked...

HIGHLAND PARK, ILL.--White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) continues to stump in New Hampshire.

HIGHLAND PARK, ILL.--White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama delivers an energy speech today in New Hampshire.

The Boston Globe previews. LINK

WASHINGTON--Barack Obama stumping again Friday in Iowa. Rival John Edwards also courting Hawkeye voters today.

for Obama sked, click below....

This Associated Press story from Iowa is about a small detail that could become a larger matter for Obama's Iowa team..."Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has stopped wearing the American flag lapel pin that has become a common symbol of patriotism since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks." (click below for full AP story_

MORNING LEDE When Howard Dean ran for president in 2004, he built a movement--but could not translate it into votes. His loss in Iowa was the beginning of the end of his campaign.

White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) stalled in the polls--especially in the primary states--wants to avoid Dean's mistakes. Obama tells MSNBC's Joe Scarborough on Thursday morning he talked to Dean last week. Dean is now the chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

"I think Howard built an extraordinary movement. But I think what you need to do is be able to translate a movement into an organization," Obama said.

And exactly on this point....Politico's Roger Simon touts Obama's Iowa organizing efforts. LINK

for transcript and other Thursday clip links, click below..

WASHINGTON--Obama stumping in Iowa again Thursday.

Schedule below

CHICAGO---White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is in Iowa on Wednesday, continuning this week to talk about foreign policy.

CHICAGO--White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is organizing a series of rallies to mark the fifth anniversary of a speech he gave against the Iraq war. He kicks off his latest organizing drive Tuesday morning with a speech at DePaul University in Chicago.

Obama's foreign policy team will brief reporters an hour before the speech. I'll blog.

The New York Times Obama reporter Jeff Zeleny has the scoop on the speech. Obama will propose a goal of ridding the world of nuclear weapons. Obama has specialized in nuclear non-proliferation issues since joining the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2005 when he became a senator.

Zeleny traveled to former Soviet states with Obama and Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to inspect nuclear facilities.

Zeleny: Mr. Obama, according to details provided by his campaign Monday, also will call for pursuing vigorous diplomatic efforts aimed at a global ban on the development, production and deployment of intermediate-range missiles.

Obama's schedule below...

HIGHLAND PARK, ILL.--One item on White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama's Thursday interview on the set of "The Tyra Banks Show." He's taping it in New York this afternoon. A few weeks ago, Banks taped B-roll in Obama's Chicago headquarters. The show will air Monday.

for more, click below...

CARBONDALE, Ill.--Democrats debate tonight (8 p.m. Chicago time) at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire with two hour session moderated by NBC's Tim Russert. Watch it on MSNBC.

This just in from Bill Burton, an Obama spokesman: "At the debate, look for Obama to show the country why he’s the one candidate who won’t just change the party in the White House, but will change the broken politics of Washington that has stood the way of our progress on health care, education, energy, and other critical issues for far too long."

for rest of Obama sked, click below

CARBONDALE, ILL.--The top Democratic presidential candidates return to Chicago Tuesday to pitch the partner unions who are part of the Change-to-Win labor federation. No endorsement is expected at this time.

Obama then heads to Maine for a fund-raiser. That positions him in New England, where he will travel south Wednesday for the Democratic debate in New Hampshire.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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