Valerie Jarrett Obama's 'real chief of staff'
With the seating of the new Congress today, Barack Obama is officially a lame-duck president. That means that insiders and former insiders feel freer to start telling tales, a process already underway. The latest example comes from today’s Politico Playbook, which is the gossipy daily morning read of the entire D.C. political establishment.
Today, Playbook offers excerpts from a new book, America's Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Backroom Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System, by Steven Brill, founder of The American Lawyer and a media heavyweight who has obviously been talking with insiders. He says he spoke with 243 people, many of them multiple times, over 27 months. He confirms that Jarrett exercises extraordinary influence.
"As a practical matter, ... Obama advisers maintained, [Valerie] Jarrett was the real chief of staff on any issues that she wanted to weigh in on ... Asked about the assessments of ... five senior officials that Jarrett was 'the real chief of staff,' Obama declined comment." (p. 70)
Hat tip: Ed Lasky