Valerie Jarrett is one of President Obama’s top White House advisers and plays what she acknowledged is “a different kind of role” as both a political and personal confidante, having known the president and his wife in Chicago.
But Jarrett has kept a lower profile than some of Obama’s other advisers, such as David Axelrod, though she has been more visible than Pete Rouse.
On Friday she sat down for one of the more in-depth interviews she’s done so far, with Judy Woodruff for Bloomberg Television.
Woodruff, one of the most accomplished modern-day TV journalists, asked Jarrett about whether there is tension between her and Larry Summers, the president’s top economic adviser.
Summers, a former Treasury Secretary under President Clinton who then took a tumultuous turn as president of Harvard University, is known for brilliance and brashness that both spill out of him sometimes with little restraint. Jackie Calmes reported this week that he has unsuccessfully tried to limit access to the president for other economic advisers such as current Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and budget director Peter Orszag.
Jarrett, reportedly, was recently added to the group of advisers who participate in a daily economic briefing with the president in the Oval Office. Woodruff asked if this was “to make sure that [Summers] didn’t dominate.”
“I would actually disagree with that description,” Jarrett said. “First of all, I’m a huge fan of Larry Summers. I don’t think I’ve ever met somebody who is so extraordinarily intelligent, and yet can explain something as though he’s talking to a third-grader. He really is a wonderful teacher.”
Readers, write in. Is Jarrett complimenting Summers in a clumsy way or is there something else going on here?
— Jon Ward, White House reporter, The Washington Times