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. Texas Vet

    Obama selecting the adviors, including Gibbs, that offered him different viewpoints on the campaign is a very good idea. Calling them Cronies demeans their intelligence and shows you can't tell the difference from the Bush Administration.

    Bear in mind that Obama does not owe favors to Lobbyists, Special Interest Groups and major Corporations. He is also initiating a new transparency in the way WAhington will operate.

    It would be nice if some of these posted comments actually stuck to facts instead of rants and insults. Civility may be above some of us but some modicum of intelligence seems appropriate.

    November 15, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  2. katiec

    Obama continues to make excellent choices for his advisors and will for all positions. He is not a man who goes into anything blindly.
    As to a comment about wrecking our society, what is left? The
    republicans have almost destroyed everything and we desperately
    need the change that is occurring.

    November 15, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  3. Dori

    To Greg h: Do you want Obama to hire someone off the street. He has worked with these people for years and trust them. And it is a fresh style...I mean just look at the way he ran his campaign. And your statement about "Obama is going to be a lousy president wrecking the US and its society". Isn't that what Bush did??? Duh. Stop being so critical and give President Elect Obama a chance.

    November 15, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  4. liz

    @Greg Hole!
    get a life and stop hating

    November 15, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  5. Fred

    I just want to make a comment on Hussein's mother-in-law moving into the White House with them..... Typical stereotype. HAHAHAHA

    Kentucky still for McCain!!!!!!!!!!

    November 15, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  6. Chris (SC)

    Don't see a problem with this appointment either. She ran a great campaign where no leaks happened, nice to know she can be trusted.

    November 15, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  7. Larry

    Chicago political machine goes to Washington–That's change!

    November 15, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  8. Elaine Bailey

    While I know it's necessary to surround yourself with "those in the know" and who know their way around Washington in order to get things done efficiently and expediciously, I hope that Mr. President-elect will remember his promise and engage some fresh new talent into his circle for a fresh perspective on things. I have every belief and trust that he will, but would like to see some evidxence of that.

    November 15, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  9. LP

    Hey Greg h, get over it my friend. These so called " cronies" were good enough to beat McCain /Palin. When you have a proven team you keep them! Opps my bad REP lost hard to pick from a bunch of loser's
    LOL!!! 🙂

    November 15, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  10. Andy Dufresne

    Some folks wouldn't be happy if you hung em with a new rope. I am willing to give the guy a chance. HOWEVER, if in 2 years there's not a major step on the way to economic recovery, alternative fuels and universal health care, I'll vote the Democrats out. It is the only effective protest we have.

    November 15, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  11. Fred

    Next he will be appointing family members to office and all the Obama's will be living in the White House. DISGUSTING!!!!!!!!

    Hey Hussein, don't forget your illegal aunty. Maybe you can put her up in the dog house.....probably better than what you have allowed her to live in.


    Still for McCain!

    November 15, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  12. Lauren

    Well at least she has more experiance than Obama has.

    Change huh? Sounds like he is picking all Clintons people,,,,,

    You know why,, because America will find out Obama has NO CLUE,,,, so he will surround himself with people who are old school, and will run this country just like it did when Clinton was in.
    Clinton started the major slide int he banking industry, by demanding they give credit to people they KNEw would not pay it back.

    Here we go again,,,,

    November 15, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  13. Nganga TX

    I can't help to be amazed by the smallness of our reasoning in these blogs. Hard to tell Americans apart! We are the greatest Country of the planet earth. Can't our reasoning reflect that?
    Brad and Rudy Bellamy,what is it with y'all?

    November 15, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  14. Tammy

    People get over it! He won. All President – elects fill positions with people they know or are recommended. He is doing what he is supposed to be doing right now, taking care of business. Idiots, idiots!

    November 15, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  15. Honestly

    AGREED : Kudos to him and for the future of our country!

    Stop thinking with your little head.. tell me what man hasnt?
    It's childish to throw stones at your age!

    November 15, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  16. theo

    I love the pick. She understands policy. Greg at 12:40... this is how you pick advisors

    November 15, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  17. spin

    change is about morals,policy opinions,attitudes,generational ideals,judgement and temperament wid de ability 2 serve All justifully and sofar de world president elect obama is rit on wid every step is takin n yes wid de choice of his cabinet team.He needs support from all of us even those who think its a "joke".

    November 15, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  18. Obama is for UNITING of the PEOPLE

    To those of you that claim that Obama is going to wreck OUR Country are showing you are the ones who voted Bush in a first and second term and look at our Country NOW....betcha you didn't whine then!!!!!

    No matter what Obama do as OUR President you will never give him credit….so the H_ll with you, can’t wait until OUR President moves in and my family receive some relief from this lousy recession……ops…that will mean you will receive relief too…….doggoneit!!!!

    Those who are SO unhappy...move to another Country...want cha………like Alaska (by then Palin husband should be through dividing it from USA.

    November 15, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  19. sandee in Portland

    I have no problem with her; however, I would like to see President Elect Obama select some members of his cabinet that haven't been in office for years and years and that haven't made a career out of being a politician.

    November 15, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  20. Texas Teacher

    Oh, evil minds.... always they will abound!

    Obama is going to change this country with a different direction. The Reagan republicans start from the top up and tell us it will trickle down! Obviously, from the mess we are in that has been proven wrong. The Big Guys let NOTHING trickle down except into their own pockets... even if it bankrupts the rest of us.

    Obama will start from the bottom up, and ALL will prosper. And yes, he is going to choose from the best of the people he knows! If you don't like that.... too bad for you! Your evil attacks and lies have failed you.. .now give it a break! Seriously!


    November 15, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  21. Obama 08

    Greg H, the people Obama is appointing to office aren't cronies. Cheney, Gingrich, Rove, Condi, Gonzalez, and Rummy are cronies.

    November 15, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  22. Brian

    Valerie Jarrett will make a fine addition to the Obama administration!

    Finally – change is taking shape!

    Yes we can !!

    November 15, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  23. Yes we did!

    I really think that all the Obama critics need to look within their own party to heal it before criticizing the Democrats. The Republicans are ready to implode and all they can do is continue to attack Obama who has not even had a chance in the office yet.

    They way it looks now, 2012 will be good to the Democrats as well.

    People are sick of the dirty political games the Republicans are still using.

    November 15, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  24. The Legacy of Barack Obama

    Intelligence & Accountability in Government … President Bush was largerly thought of, rightly or wrongly … as not being a THINKER. He was a reactive, gut, decider. The prosecution of the Iraq War and the response to the Katrina disaster are clear examples to most Americans of governmental incompetence. “You’re doing a hell of a job Brownie” reminds us that people were appointed to positions without the proper qualifications and when people died because of the failures of the Bush administration, no one was accountable … no one went to jail … no one lost all their ill-gotten wealth. Obama is smart and will hire smart, calm thinkers that will consider all options and pick the best of the bunch.

    November 15, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  25. merle7


    November 15, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
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