The Blog

Valerie Jarrett Pushed Away from Obama Toward End of Campaign

11:42 AM, Dec 17, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

During the tail-end of the presidential campaign, Valerie Jarrett, a close aide to Barack Obama, was pushed away from the president. The news of the conflict is reported in a new Politico e-book, which came out today.

"Obama adviser Jarrett — a close friend of the First Family but an unpopular figure with much of the president’s staff — was irritated with the debate prep team after the Denver debacle. Another adviser said she made it clear 'the team, and not just the president, made a strategic miscalculation' and needed to 'adjust their antennae.' She hadn’t been part of the debate team and demanded to know why Obama’s other aides hadn’t gotten a heads-up that he was about to bomb," Jonathan Martin and Glenn Thrush report.

Her intervention made the situation more fraught than it needed to be, and they took steps to calm the situation.

It would be a good idea, several top staffers quietly agreed, if Jarrett was occupied with business that didn’t offer her much unstructured time with Obama on Air Force One during the final weeks.

Elsewhere, the two come back to this point, writing:

Obama — who privately joked Romney wasn’t quite “human enough” to get elected as the campaign hit the homestretch — bounced back after the first debate and roared back to life in the final three weeks.

But a man with unshakeable confidence was deeply shaken by his own failure in Denver — far more than anyone on the outside could have known at the time. Intuitively, Obama and his top advisers quietly waged a campaign-within-a-campaign to buck up their bummed-out candidate and, even more quietly, to purge distractions and negativity from his midst.

Gone, for a time, was Obama’s beloved iPad, which delivered a stream of sour commentary. Gone too, gently shuttled off to campaign events outside the Air Force One bubble, was his close friend Valerie Jarrett, who had a tendency to “stir him up,” said more than one Obama insider.

Obama campaign officials publicly denied there was any organized effort to get Jarrett out of Obama’s space. But privately, a top Democratic official said they needed to “make sure she wasn’t around all the time … that she was gainfully employed somewhere else.”

Jarrett has been close personal friends with the Obamas for many years. The news of the rift comes as a surprise, even as Jarrett seems to have regained her close relationship with the president of the United States.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 15 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers