Valerie Jarrett

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What Led Obama to Sing 'Amazing Grace'

Michelle, Valerie Jarrett were a bit skeptical at first

(Newser) - President Obama's rendition of "Amazing Grace" at the end of his eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney has been viewed more than 2 million times on YouTube . Had he listened to the gut reaction of those around him, it might not have happened at all. The New York ... More »

Obama's New Push: Paid Family, Sick Leave

6 paid weeks off for new child, 7 paid sick days a year are immediate goals

(Newser) - One of the first steps President Obama took in 2015 was to propose free community college . Now he's expected to announce today that he'll direct federal agencies to offer employees up to six weeks of paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child, the New York ... More »

'Obama Whisperer' Valerie Jarrett Always Has His Ear

She's one of his strongest influences on decisions big and small

(Newser) - Valerie Jarrett is President Obama's senior adviser, and as such has prime access to the president's ear, earning her the title of "Obama Whisperer" in Noam Scheiber's New Republic profile. Wielding powerful influence over the president and his decision-making, Jarrett is said to evoke such intimidation... More »

Obamas Celebrate MLK Day at Soup Kitchen

President proves he is not good at identifying taco meat

(Newser) - Barack Obama is honoring Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy of service by helping a soup kitchen prepare its daily meals. Obama took Michelle, Sasha, and Malia to DC Central Kitchen, which is a few minutes away from the White House by presidential motorcade. They joined an assembly line... More »

Salaries of White House Staffers

$172K is a common one

(Newser) - White House staffers have to take an unpaid day off starting with the May 1 pay period thanks to the sequester, and Politico uses the opportunity to round up some high-profile salaries. (It's not clear how many total days the staffers will lose.)
  • Jay Carney, press secretary: $172,
... More »

Michelle Obama to Attend Slain Girl's Funeral

First lady heading to Chicago for services for Hadiya Pendleton

(Newser) - Michelle Obama will attend Saturday's funeral for Hadiya Pendleton, the Chicago teen killed not long after performing at President Obama's inauguration, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Alongside Obama will be adviser Valerie Jarrett and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, also Chicagoans, reports the Tribune . No arrests have been made in... More »

It's Over Between Oprah, Michelle

Winfrey-Obama relationship breaks down, Edward Klein alleges

(Newser) - BFFs no more? A new, unauthorized, and contentious Barack Obama biography alleges that the relationship between Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey has been deteriorating ever since the early days of Obama’s presidency, the Telegraph reports. According to The Amateur, by former New York Times Magazine editor Edward Klein, Obama... More »

Get to Know Valerie Jarrett, Obama's Right-Hand Woman

She's admired, feared in political and business circles

(Newser) - Valerie Jarrett was once the least visible of President Obama’s top advisors—but with the exits of Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, and Robert Gibbs, Jarrett has gained duties while coming increasingly into the spotlight as Obama’s right-hand woman. In a lengthy profile, the Chicago Tribune traces her often... More »

Obama Aides Skipping Orszag Wedding as Revenge

Gossip: Axelrod, Jarrett, and Emanuel ticked off over his op-ed

(Newser) - From the White House gossip mill: Three top Obama advisers will skip the wedding of ex-budget director Peter Orszag this weekend in a tiff over the Bush tax cuts, the New York Post reports in its Page Six column. As the tale goes, David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett, and Rahm Emanuel... More »

We Still Have a Wage Gap; Now's the Time to Close It

Valerie Jarrett: Paycheck Fairness Act is a good start

(Newser) - The year is 2010, and women still get paid 77¢ cents for every dollar men earn. That's bad enough in and of itself, but when you consider that women are now the sole breadwinners for two-thirds of families, "equal pay is not only a matter of principle," writes... More »

Obama Has Birthday Dinner With Oprah, Chicago Pals

But did he have the truffle popcorn?

(Newser) - Michelle couldn't make it, so Oprah did the honors last night, joining the president for a dinner celebrating his 49th birthday at Graham Elliot , a chic but playful restaurant in Chicago known for serving truffle popcorn instead of bread. Also on hand were Oprah pal Gayle King and Obama stalwarts... More »

'Senator Oprah' Sounded Good to Blago

Then-gov considered media titan to succeed Obama as senator

(Newser) - As Rod Blagojevich considered possible successors to Barack Obama as US senator from Illinois, he came up with one name "no one can assail": Oprah Winfrey. As the former governor's corruption trial dragged on today in Chicago, prosecutors played a tape from December 2008—after Obama confidant Valerie Jarrett... More »

Blago Accidentally Reveals Allegations Against Obama

Screw-up reveals redacted info

(Newser) - Rod Blagojevich's defense team asked the judge to subpoena Barack Obama yesterday with a motion that was supposed to be heavily redacted. But whoever redacted it did a lousy job; the blacked out text could be easily read just by copying and pasting it, as Capital Fax revealed. Here's what... More »

Small-Biz Owners Offer Obama Brilliant Ideas

Jarrett was looking for ideas on jobs, found whole bunch of crazy

(Newser) - Valerie Jarrett might be questioning the wisdom of "ask and you shall receive" after the Obama adviser asked small businesses on LinkedIn what steps they think "government should take to help American businesses spur job creation." What she got, the Business Insider reports, is "a long... More »

Obama Should Keep Rahm, Fire Gibbs

Dana Milbank: President should have listened to Emanuel

(Newser) - President Obama should ignore the rising sentiment to fire Rahm Emanuel, writes Dana Milbank. He needs him desperately. Emanuel has become the whipping boy for the first year's failures mostly because he's good at making enemies. Truth is, if Obama had taken Emanuel's advice on everything from health care (go... More »

GOP to Dems: Start Over on Health Care

Not so fast, say top senators as White House pushes ahead

(Newser) - President Obama's elite advisers poured onto the Sunday shows to beat the health reform drum today—and ran right into a wall of Republicans, euphoric from Tuesday's victory in Massachusetts. Even as David Axelrod emphasized that Americans "want Brown to work with us and not be obstructionist," GOP... More »

Rahm Emanuel May Head for Exit

Jarrett poised to take over for chief of staff who can't make nice

(Newser) - Rahm Emanuel’s frustration with the legislative process may lead him out of the White House, but it's not clear whether the president's volatile chief of staff will jump or be pushed. Emanuel, a former congressman, has a famously explosive temper that isn't going over well in the West Wing.... More »

First State Dinner to Reveal Obama A-Listers

Mad scramble for invitations

(Newser) - Washington notables are still scrambling for an invitation to the White House state dinner Tuesday in honor of Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh. The event, to be held in a heated tent on the South Lawn, will display who’s truly on Obama’s A-list, and the lobbying for a... More »

Jarrett: Abdullah Quitting Isn't a Complication

Says election up to Afghan gov't; Obama decision may be delayed

(Newser) - Senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett says Abdullah Abdullah's withdrawal from next weekend's runoff election in Afghanistan won't complicate the White House's decision-making process on a war strategy. But Jarrett tells George Stephanopoulos that the president's decision could slide back to late November. “The President will make a decision... More »

Obama Bigwigs Take Aim at Wall Street

Says execs can't have their bailouts, and their bonuses, too

(Newser) - Wall Street is getting ready to hand out some hefty bonuses, and the Obama administration is already crashing the party, with top aides loudly dressing down execs, framing them as would-be fat cats who only last year were on the public dole. "The bonuses are offensive," says David... More »

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