July 29th, 2009
12:09 PM ET

Obama's most trusted aide

Roland S. Martin
CNN Contributor

Five days after the 2008 presidential election, Steve Kroft of "60 Minutes" did a profile on "Obama's brain trust," four political veterans that he reported were the president-elect's most important team members: David Plouffe, Robert Gibbs, David Axelrod and Anita Dunn.

When the report aired, I immediately asked myself, "Where's Valerie?" - as in Valerie Jarrett, clearly the most important adviser to the president.

After calling around, I discovered that Jarrett didn't even know about the sit-down interview. As Arsenio Hall used to say on his show, "Things that make you go, 'Hmmm.' "

But after reading the New York Times Magazine cover story on the 52-year-old Jarrett, a longtime Chicago, Illinois, business executive, it's safe to say that that mistake will never happen again.

Washington is all about power and the approximation to power. Who is in and who is out is the favorite parlor game among the elites, and the wide assumption by many was that when it came to whom the president relied on the most for advice and counsel, it would have been chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, senior adviser Axelrod and press secretary Robert Gibbs.

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