Evelyn S. Lieberman
|Evelyn S. Lieberman|
|White House Deputy Chief of Staff|
January 1996 – December, 1996
Served with Harold Ickes
|Preceded by||Erskine Bowles|
|Succeeded by||John Podesta|
|Born||1944 (age 68–69)
|Spouse(s)||Edward H. Lieberman|
Evelyn S. Lieberman (born 1944) is an American public affairs professional who, during the Clinton administration, became the first woman to serve as White House Deputy Chief of Staff and the first United States Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. She has been Director of Communications and Public Affairs at the Smithsonian Institution since 2002, taking time off to serve as chief operating officer of Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign.
Life and career
Lieberman first joined the White House in 1993 as Assistant to First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's Chief of Staff. She rose to the rank of Deputy Assistant to the President with the job title of Deputy Press Secretary. On January 10, 1996, Chief of Staff Leon Panetta announced her appointment as Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff.
While another Deputy Chief of Staff managed policy and politics, Lieberman oversaw White House operations and administrative functions: the Office of Scheduling and Advance, the Office of Management and Administration, the Office of Presidential Personnel, and the Office of the Staff Secretary, as well as Director of Oval Office Operations. She focussed on bringing discipline to the young, energetic White House staff; in announcing her appointment, Panetta said "she brings the perfect mixture of chicken soup and a kick in the butt that we need in this job."
While serving as Deputy Chief of Staff, Lieberman, with the approval of Panetta, transferred Monica Lewinsky—the former intern later found to have had an inappropriate relationship with the President—out of the White House into the United States Defense Department Public Affairs office. In subsequent grand jury testimony, Lieberman recalled removing Lewinsky for "spending too much time around the West Wing."
The story of Lewinsky's firing reportedly contributed to Lieberman's "cult status" as a tough enforcer among the Hillary Clinton supporters collectively known as "Hillaryland." "If Lieberman invites you for a walk," Hillaryland members joke, "don't go. It means you're fired."
At the beginning of Clinton's second administration, Lieberman wanted to return to public affairs, and Clinton appointed her director of the Voice of America. When VOA's parent organization, the U.S. Information Agency, was folded into the State Department in 1999 (minus VOA, which became a unit of the separate Broadcasting Board of Governors) she was appointed senior adviser to the United States Secretary of State. She was then nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate as Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, overseeing the Department's spokesman, its international public information operations, and its education and cultural programs. Her overall mission was improving the image of the United States internationally.
Prior to joining the Clinton Administration, Lieberman was press secretary to Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE) (1988–1993); Director of Public Affairs for the Children's Defense Fund; and Communications Director for the National Urban Coalition. She is also a director of the Trust for Early Education, an advocacy group devoted to ensuring that children in America receive pre-Kindergarten preparation for education.
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