What It Takes to Get Fired From the Obama Administration

PHOTO: U.S. President Barack Obama makes opening remarks at a bipartisan summit on health care as Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. secretary of health and human services, listens at right, in Washington, Feb. 25, 2010.

Call it "Survivor: White House" edition.

Over the past week, one high-profile cabinet secretary managed to dodge an onslaught of Republican demands for her resignation while a lesser-known national security aide got the boot for a series of snarky anonymous tweets.

In fact, history has shown that it's actually not that easy to get fired from the Obama administration.

Over the past five years, just a few of those who serve at the pleasure of the president have been forcibly shown the door. Many more have weathered controversy and embarrassment and figured out a way to hold on for dear life. Still others know how to take a hint, choosing to resign rather than risk an unceremonious dismissal at the hands of the commander-in-chief.

Here's ABC's look at some of the Obama administration officials who got the axe, the ones who got away and a few in between:


Jofi Joseph

Jofi Joseph, a White House national security aide, was recently fired for posting insulting messages about top officials and Obama administration policies under an anonymous Twitter account. The nonproliferation expert on the National Security Council was let go after it was discovered he was the author of the @natsecwonk Twitter feed, which became well-known inside the beltway for its snarky blasts about the Obama administration. Using an alias, Joseph took aim over two years at high-ranking administration players as well as Republicans, slamming their intellect and criticizing their appearance. He once reportedly tweeted, "'Has s****y staff.' #ObamaInThreeWords."

Stanley A. McChrystal

In June 2010, President Obama relieved Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal of duty, after he made critical comments about the president in a Rolling Stone magazine interview. In a Rose Garden announcement, Obama explained his decision to oust the general, "I don't think we can sustain that unity of effort and achieve our objectives in Afghanistan without making this change." Three years later, in an interview with ABC News, McChrystal recalled his firing: "It felt surreal, because my whole career I'd thought that I could be fired for incompetence, or I could be killed, or I could have any number of things happen, but I never thought I could be painted with any brush of disrespect or disloyalty, because I didn't see myself that way. And I still don't," he said.

Shirley Sherrod

In July 2010, Shirley Sherrod, a Department of Agriculture employee, was sent packing after conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart edited video of a speech she gave to make her appear racist. In the video, Sherrod spoke about not helping a white farmer as much as she could have decades before. But the point of Sherrod's story, which was edited out by Breitbart, was that she regretted her actions. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack were forced to make public apologies for dismissing her without learning the whole story. "She deserves better than what happened last week when a bogus controversy based on selective and deceiving excerpts of a speech led her -- led to her forced resignation," President Obama said in a speech after he learned the truth. "Many are to blame, for the reaction and overreaction that followed these comments, including my own administration."

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