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The great Drupal switch came about after the Obama new media team, with a few months of executive branch service (and tweaking of WhiteHouse.gov) under their belts, decided they needed a more malleable development environment for the White House web presence. They wanted to be able to more quickly, easily, and gracefully build out their vision of interactive government.
More thoughts on the change and what it means in terms of technology and the public adoption of open-source software is available from Dries Buyatert (original creator and project lead for Drupal development) and Tim O’Reilly.