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Shop Talk: White House Shuffle as Three Aides Head Out

White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton and top White House aide Sean Sweeney are leaving to form their own political consulting firm.

Sweeney, an aide to former Chiefs of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Pete Rouse, and Burton first worked together at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the 2006 cycle. Burton was communications director and Sweeney was political director during the cycle, when Democrats took control of the House.

Burton joined then-Sen. Barack Obama in January 2007 and then worked on his 2008 presidential race. Previously he worked on the 2004 presidential campaign of then-Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) and for Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and former Rep. Bill Luther (D-Minn.).

Sweeney worked for Emanuel in the House and as a political adviser to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and to the Senate campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

In an e-mail to friends and reporters, Burton said he’s hoping to spend more time with his family and will release details about the new firm in the near future.

“I am going to partner with Sean Sweeney to start a firm focused on political and strategic consulting,” he wrote. “We will have a more specific announcement in coming weeks once we figure out things like name, location and where one buys those comfy ergonomic office chairs.”

Separately, White House press aide Katie Hogan said Wednesday that she is also leaving Friday. Hogan, who has worked for Obama for four years, said she has no plans except to take the next few months off to decompress.

The news came on the same day that new White House Press Secretary Jay Carney held his first briefing. Carney replaces Robert Gibbs, who will be an outside Obama adviser for the 2012 campaign.

ASGK Adds Seven Staffers

The communications firm founded in 2002 by former White House adviser David Axelrod and corporate public relations veteran Eric Sedler announced seven new hires in its Chicago and Washington, D.C., offices Wednesday. 

ASGK Public Strategies added Managing Director Chris Lisi, Principal Bryan DeAngelis, Senior Associate Ryan Vanderbilt, Associate Benjamin Thrutchley and Junior Associate Elizabeth Kenigsberg in the East Coast office. Managing Director Judy Erwin and Senior Associate Julie Adler will join the Chicago office.

Lisi, DeAngelis, Vanderbilt, Thrutchley and Kenigsberg all have experience working for Democrats on Capitol Hill, according to the firm’s press release. DeAngelis, a Massachusetts native who worked most recently for former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), started Monday.

“The parts of my job that I’ve loved is sort of the back and forth with the media, so I’m kind of happy that I still get to work with the media folks on the Hill and covering the White House,” DeAngelis said.

Colorado Changing Chairman 

The race for chairman of the Colorado Republican Party has turned into a contest of political tacticians vs. populists, according to strategists, and it has some party members concerned about Colorado’s prospects in the next presidential election.

Outgoing Chairman Dick Wadhams, a longtime strategist, announced last week that he would not seek another term, stating he was “tired of the nuts who have no grasp of what the state party’s role is.”

Stepping in are perhaps a half-dozen candidates, including state Sen. Ted Harvey, who is considered a conservative force in the state. Also running is the state party’s attorney, Ryan Call. The Colorado Statesman reported that other potential candidates include Jefferson County GOP Chairman Don Ytterberg, Larimer County GOP Chairman Larry Carillo and businessman Cleve Tidwell.

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