'They're Terrified': Liberal Magazine Outs Valerie Jarrett Enemies List
A report from a liberal magazine is drawing attention to the influence of Valerie Jarrett, President Obama's longtime top adviser.
The following mention of a so-called enemies list has raised some eyebrows.
In the New Republic report, entitled "The Obama Whisperer," Noam Scheiber writes:
Valerie Jarrett is not above keeping a shit list—or as hers was titled, a “least constructive” list. One progressive activist recalls Jarrett holding the document during a meeting and noticing her own name on it, along with the names of others in the room. “It was kind of an honor,” the activist told me. This was not out of character for Jarrett. The woman who once resisted Emanuel’s commandment against rewarding bad behavior has often gone out of her way to suppress dissent among ideological allies and others who question the president. (A White House official says the document was prepared by a staffer acting without orders and that it is not a common practice.)
Scheiber reports that Democrats and administration officials "marvel at her influence" and are "shocked" that she's been around this long.
When I asked a longtime source who left the Obama White House years ago for his impressions of Jarrett, he confessed that he was too fearful to speak with me, even off the record.
This is not as irrational as it sounds. Obama has said he consults Jarrett on every major decision, something current and former aides corroborate. “Her role since she has been at the White House is one of the broadest and most expansive roles that I think has ever existed in the West Wing,” says Anita Dunn, Obama’s former communications director. Broader, even, than the role of running the West Wing. This summer, the call to send Attorney General Eric Holder on a risky visit to Ferguson, Missouri, was made by exactly three people: Holder himself, the president, and Jarrett, who were vacationing together on Martha’s Vineyard.
On "America's Newsroom" this morning, we heard from one of those enemies of the administration: Charlie Hurt of The Washington Times. Hurt recalled an incident that happened after a 2008 presidential debate when he wrote a column for the New York Post.
"[The column] was not negative in any way. It just simply laid out the state of play after one of the debates and sure enough my phone started ringing the next day. I got dressed down for several hours during the day and finally got kicked off the campaign plane, which is actually a point of pride for me at this point," he said.
Hurt described the incident as "puzzling" and views the Obama administration as being "incredibly sensitive" to criticism. Hurt said the fact that so few people were willing to speak on the record about Jarrett shows just how "terrified" they are.
Scheiber also reports allegations that Jarrett acts as a "spy" inside the administration, going to meetings and then "whispering to the president" about what took place.
Hurt said all administrations try to do things to get more favorable coverage in the press, but it's been taken to a new level by the current White House.
"This is steps far beyond anything we've ever seen. When I talk to old veterans who have covered administrations going back to Nixon, they say they've never seen anything like this," said Hurt, pointing out the allegations from Sharyl Attkisson that a government agency hacked her computers.
A recent Politico piece by Carol Felsenthal argued that it's time for Jarrett to be fired.
She wrote that, "it appears that Jarrett has been more an obstructer than a facilitator over the past six years when it comes to governing, and it’s probably long past time for the president to move her gently into another role."
Watch the full discussion above.