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November 5th, 2009
11:36 AM ET

Valerie Jarrett balances roles of friend, official adviser to Obama

Suzanne Malveaux
CNN White House Correspondent

Valerie Jarrett does not like to talk about herself.

I know this because we've sat down on numerous occasions for interviews, going back to the early days of Barack Obama's presidential campaign. But this one was perhaps the most challenging because the focus was on her.

She is fiercely loyal to Obama, as one of his closest friends. But she also advises him as president, with the title of Senior Adviser and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Liaison.

The ultimate insider does not spill the beans. But doing a series on the power players inside the White House would not be complete without looking at Jarrett's role.

She has called her relationship with the president a "mind meld."

"We're good friends who have known each other for a long time," Jarrett says. "Eighteen years, you get a pretty good sense of him."

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Suzanne Malveaux
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