Person of Interest

Obama's Most-Trusted Confidante

If you want Barack Obama to do something, there are two people to talk to: Michelle Obama or Valerie Jarrett. A new profile in The New York Times Magazine describes the genesis of Obama’s trusted adviser and close friend, who he met shortly after arriving in Chicago. When Obama was young, smoking cigarettes, and preparing his memoir, Jarrett helped guide him through the process. Jarrett, like Obama, has a bit of a cosmopolitan background, having been born in Iran. Now, Jarrett, who is quite accomplished in the business world, serves as a liaison between the White House and business interests. (The article notes that the White House is filled with academics and regulators, in contrast with the Bush team, which was filled with businessmen.) But Jarrett's role goes beyond business, "she is Obama’s intermediary to the outside world."