Valerie Jarrett: ‘I’m not the shadow chief of staff’

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

What exactly does she do?

That’s a question often asked about longtime Obama family confidante and senior White House aide Valerie Jarrett — known best for her unique access to the president.

During a rare public appearance on Wednesday, Jarrett was asked about her job description and made one thing clear: “I’m not the shadow chief of staff.”

“I have very specific responsibilities,” she said, explaining that she leads the White House Council on Women and Girls and oversees the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.

“That’s my portfolio and that’s what I do, in addition to just being a senior adviser to the president,” Jarrett added.

Jarrett is a rare White House aide who has Secret Service protection, though she has refused to discuss why when questioned by reporters.

During the live-streamed interview Wednesday, Jarrett said she has known the Obamas for 22 years and said the president doesn’t talk shop at night when he’s with the family. “I assure you, when he goes home to the residence, he’s really not interested in talking about his job.”

Asked if she plans to serve all eight years in the administration, Jarrett responded: “I have the best job that I have ever had and will probably ever have in my life. I serve at the pleasure of the president. It feels just amazing to say that. So I’ll be there as long as he’ll have me.”

She made the comments Wednesday during Politico’s “Morning Money Breakfast Briefing” with reporter Ben White at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington.

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