Adding And Removing XML Namespaces And Nodes

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I am using vs2008 vb code behind. I am currently receiving an object through a web service that I serialize into xml. What I'd like to do after that is remove the namespaces, and add nodes to sort of customize my own xml doc. I am getting an error on this

Code:
Dim DOC1 As New XmlDocument
Dim STR As String
STR = ConvertObjectToXmlString(HODRes).ToString
DOC1.LoadXml(STR)

[Code] ....

The error I get is:

Server Error in '/RateAudit' Application.
________________________________
Data at the root level is invalid. Line 1, position 1.
Description: An unhandled exception occurred during the execution of the current web request. Please review the stack trace for more information about the error and where it originated in the code.

Exception Details: System.Xml.XmlException: Data at the root level is invalid. Line 1, position 1.

Source Error:

Line 109: Dim STR As String
Line 110: STR = ConvertObjectToXmlString(HODRes).ToString
Line 111: DOC1.LoadXml(STR)
Line 112:
Line 113: