November 15th, 2008
09:12 AM ET
11 years ago

Obama team announces Jarrett as senior advisor

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Jarrett is a longtime adviser to Obama."] WASHINGTON (CNN) - A longtime friend of Barack and Michelle Obama has officially been named a senior advisor to the incoming president.

President-elect Obama, in a statement released Saturday morning by his transition staff, announced that Valerie Jarrett will serve as Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Liaison. CNN Contributor Roland Martin reported the offer to Jarrett on Friday evening.

Jarrett is currently co-chair of Obama's transition team and was senior adviser for his presidential campaign. She became the president and CEO of The Habitat Company on January 31, 2007, and was also the company's vice president. The Habitat Company develops and manages residential apartments and condominiums.

Before joining The Habitat Company, Jarrett served for eight years in government for the city of Chicago; first as deputy corporation counsel for finance and development, then as deputy chief of staff for Mayor Richard M. Daley and finally as commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development.

Jarrett met Barack Obama when she hired his wife Michelle for a job in the Chicago mayor's office years ago and has be very close to the two of them ever since.

The transition team also made official Saturday the hiring of Ron Klain as chief of staff to the vice president, a story CNN first reported on Thursday. Klain was also chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore, but he's no stranger to Vice President-elect Joe Biden, having served as chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee when Biden was the committee chairman. Klain also served as general counsel of Gore's 2000 Florida recount effort, and was portrayed by actor Kevin Spacey in an HBO movie about the event.

This year Klain helped with debate preparation for both Obama and Biden.

In a statement released Saturday morning, Biden said "Ron Klain has been a trusted advisor of mine for over 20 years. He brings extraordinary judgment, a deep understanding of the important policy issues facing our nation, a wide range of experience in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of
government, as well as a unique understanding of how the Vice President's office works."

The transition team also announced Saturday that Phil Schiliro will serve as assistant to the president for legislative Affairs. Schiliro is currently director of congressional relations for the Obama transition team. Before that he was a senior adviser to Obama's presidential campaign.

Schiliro has worked in Congress for more than 25 years, in positions including chief of staff to Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California, and policy director for then-Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota and staff director for the Senate Democratic Leadership Committees.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (96 Responses)
  1. latina-obama 2012

    The election of Barack Obama had the effect of prying open a window in a stale room. You can breathe again. Not everybody, of course. The neoconservatives are in shock. Suddenly they have no administration in Washington. The White House is enemy territory, soon to be staffed by people who do not see the world in black and white.

    November 15, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  2. Beartrack

    What's going on here ? Hiring people that actually have background and experience. What a concept. No Skull and Bones membership required ?

    November 15, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. ANNE

    Obama is building up a group of stars who will help him turn this country in a new direction to rebuild our nation once again.

    November 15, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  4. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Cue right wing nutjobs attacking Valerie Jarrett in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ...

    November 15, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  5. RuthieM

    good. great comfortable choice.

    November 15, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  6. Reagan, VA

    I like her. I'm so glad Barack is keeping his winning team in tact.

    He's doing a brilliant job.

    It's funny, for so long minorities were settling for attending the dinner, but sitting at the young people's table. Barack was bold enough to say, "No, I want to sit at the adult table". When others said, "Oh no, we can't do that". He said, "Yes, we can".

    So 2012 we'll see lots of people coming to the adult table–more women and minorities, and it's about time.

    I love it.

    November 15, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  7. Gretchen

    People voted for change (I think). There is no change here–same old chicago politics; along with another era of Clinton antics. Obama's staff predictons are all Clinton affiliated people. And Hilliary as sec of state (what an awful thought of her and Bill wasting the taxpayer dollars again). No change here other than a different face with the same old washington/chicago cast of charaters. I think we got duped by a snake oil salesman.

    November 15, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  8. dede-ole

    yes sir keep good company and you shall do great things for the nation. yes we can.

    November 15, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  9. Timber (ex dem)

    Is anybody sick of hearing about Obama, I mean really? How much can you take. I can see Obama fatigue setting in already and he has not even taken office.

    November 15, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  10. Rhiannon

    I love intelligent people. I'm so glad we have one for our next pres.

    November 15, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  11. Brad - Florida

    Just watch out for a major rumor with this one and That One.

    November 15, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  12. Anna

    Sounds like a worthy appointment.
    I don't take issue with Presidents bringing in some of their own inner circle to the White House, as long as it isn't just for the sake of payback or duty.

    It is good for the President to surround himself with people he trusts; kind of like comfort food.

    November 15, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  13. Rudy Bellamy

    Hey, does she film his events?

    November 15, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  14. gabriel lujan

    Wise choice.

    November 15, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  15. Greg h

    So Obama who promised a fresh style to the govt is appointing his close friends and cronies to his cabinet. what a joke. it is obvious that Obama is going to be a lousy president wrecking the US and its society.

    November 15, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  16. Don Judson

    Every President needs trusted advisors around them – friends who are unafraid to tell them when they are wrong. President-elect Obama now has three – Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, and Senior Advisors David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett. Kudos to him and for the future of our country!

    November 15, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  17. Donna

    Sounds like the non Obama supporters expect him to appoint his enemies rather than his friends.Sounds like they just want him to fail.Get over it, he will be a great president!

    November 15, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  18. Sav

    Greg h – Why are you so bitter? The man knows what he is doing.

    November 15, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  19. Gracie


    November 15, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  20. budswisr

    Bet Obama is sending money for welfare poor aunte's defense fund. Maybe even a few tax dollars. Just call it another bail-out.

    November 15, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  21. KimSK - Iowa

    Greg h....who would you rather Obama appoint as his advisors and cabinet members....Bush? Cheney? Karl Rove? Rush Limbaugh? Sean Hannity? Lindsay Graham? Romney? Sarah Palin?

    Get a grip already!

    November 15, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  22. Barack is hot

    Once again surrounding himself with intelligent people...just what this country needs. I just can't imagine if the election had turned out any other way. Hopefully Hillary will accept the Secretary of State position.

    November 15, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  23. Simmy

    TO: Brad, the rumor-monger and Greg h-the Repub mal-content:

    Cc: Any possible rumor: I think you have your parties confused. You were thinking about Cindy M and Sarah P, who both had affairs that were swept under the rug, by media partial to McCain and infatuated with P!

    We Dems use higher standards, and actually do believe integrity is a way of life, not just a word!

    Cc: The hiring of his 'cronies, etc,': Au Contraie! He is smart enough to surmise that if you won with smart and tested people, you don't drop them for a bunch of 'ignant' neophytes just to prove a stupid point!

    I said it before, I'll continue to say: Get your loser _____ back to Hannity, Beck, Coulter, Ingrahm, Fox (except Combs, he's ok) and vent your childish anger. You are rebellious in your thinking, and you are also cowards! GET A LIFE!! DEMS FOREVER!

    November 15, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  24. Keepin It Real

    It sounds like Greg H is still upset that Obama is the next President. What is so wrong with appointing his friends. What about McCain when he picked LAME %$# Sarah Palin the soccor mom.

    November 15, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  25. exMAnow WA

    This is one very capable and accomplished woman, and someone the Obamas trust completely. Her qualifications are impressive. Google her if you doubt that. So far so good, Barack. Only strong resumes need apply.

    November 15, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
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