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Monday, February 21, 2011

Jarrett's Growing Influence: Cause For Concern

The Chicago Tribune is out with a major story on Valerie Jarrett and her growing influence at the White House. As other Obama cronies have come and gone, Jarrett remains a Chicago standby at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Jarett is a longtime Obama confidante but she lacks any significant Washington or governmental experience. Any gravitas that she claims to have at the vortex of the nation's power seems to be strictly of her own making. She just doesn't seem to have the chops to do the job.
But that doesn't seem to matter because she's managed to ingratiate herself to both the President and First Lady. And new she's such fast friends with the First Family that she even vacations with them. Many say she's a surrogate mother to the President. The Obamas are her life.
And excerpt from the Tribune story:
It was all in a recent day's work for Valerie Jarrett.
She reassured Jewish leaders about White House strategy on Egypt, helped the First Lady sync her spring agenda with her husband's, ushered a former Fed chairman into the Oval Office, soothed Rev. Al Sharpton's concerns about education policy and took a stroll with President Obama across Lafayette Park to patch things up with some irritated CEOs.

The schedule illustrates why no one else in the White House now has a range of responsibilities equal to Jarrett's. When Obama took office she was the least seen of his four senior advisors. Now chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and chief political strategist David Axelrod have returned to Chicago, and Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has also departed. Jarrett, 54, remains, picking up new duties from each of them. Long the closest personal confidante of Barack and Michelle Obama, she is steadily becoming more visible at Obama's side.
Jarrett is said to be "very political" and she strikes such fear in the hearts White House insiders and outsiders alike that no one is willing to speak ill of her on the record. It's been said that if you work in the West Wing and she appears at your door, it probably means you've been fired.
Click here to read more from the Chicago Tribune.

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