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Best Friend


Obama: Marty Nesbitt
Obama has been close with Marty Nesbitt, a fellow Hyde Park resident and basketball companion, for years. Nesbitt, an entrepreneur, started a successful airport-parking company in Chicago. After serving as the finance chairman of Obama’s unsuccessful 2000 congressional campaign, he was the treasurer of Obama’s presidential campaign. His fund-raising acumen paid off even before that: In 2002, Marty put Obama in touch with Illinois’ astoundingly wealthy Pritzker family (worth $20 billion) to help with his Senate campaign. But it's not all business between the two; up until the hectic presidential campaign they still played basketball together, went out to dinner with their wives, and socialized within Hyde Park's clique of affluent African-Americans. Marty's wife also delivered both of the Obamas' children (don't worry, she's a doctor), and Obama is the godfather to the Nesbitts' youngest son. Nesbitt often meets up with the first family during summer vacations at Martha’s Vineyard, and during holiday getaways in Hawaii.

Romney: Bob White
In the epilogue to Romney's quasi-manifesto No Apology, he describes political strategist Bob White — a Harvard Business student he'd recruited to Bain Consulting, and a fellow co-founder of Bain Capital — as “my career-long wingman.” The Washington Post, in its roundup of Romney's 2012 team, described White as “a longtime Romney confidante” and a “trusted voice” for him. Speaking to Hugh Hewitt for his book A Mormon in the White House, Romney maps White's impact on every major turn in his career. “He was there at the founding of Bain Capital, there during the last weeks of my run against Senator Kennedy, there at the beginning of my Olympics job. Bob is true blue, through and through.” Indeed, he was the man that Romney asked to come in and help him draft an initial slash-and-burn budget for the faltering 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. When Romney cast his sights on the Massachusetts governorship, it was Bob White who helped give him the lay of the land and who later headed up his transition team. While he holds no official post in the campaign this time around, White was Romney's 2008 campaign manager. “Some folks describe White as Romney's right arm,” Hewitt wrote, “but I think that understates the depth of their decades-old partnership.”


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