early and often

Meet Valerie Jarrett, the Woman Who Taught Al Sharpton to Lower His Voice

Valerie Jarrett

Jarrett, with Michelle Obama this year.Photo: Getty Images

One of the less-scrutinized senior advisers on Barack Obama’s campaign is actually one of the friends who has known him the longest. Valerie Jarrett, a political strategist and adept liaison with black leaders and Hillary supporters alike, met Barack Obama in 1991 when Michelle Robinson (at that time Obama’s fiancée) asked her for help. Barack wanted to speak with her about the recently elected Chicago mayor Richard Daley, who was wooing Michelle for a job in his office. Jarrett and Obama saw eye-to-eye, and have been allies ever since. The Chicago power broker has been profiled in the Tribune, Newsweek, and on CBS News. But this tidbit from Michelle Cottle’s latest New Republic story really caught our eye:

One of Jarrett’s better-known conferees has been the Reverend Al Sharpton. As Sharpton tells it, he was initially skeptical of Obama — until Jarrett went to work on him. “Part of what moved me from, ‘Who is Barack Obama and what is he really about?’ to ‘Yes, this is a guy who can help make changes even if we’re not on the same page in terms of style and approach’–a lot of that came from talking to her,” he gushes … Whether the matter is political (such as the campaign’s response to a smear) or policy related (such as Obama’s vote on the FISA bill), says Sharpton, “she’s so calm herself that you find yourself fighting to stay calm as well, trying to even out your tone.”

Someone who can get Al Sharpton to stop shouting? Get this woman a Cabinet post.

The Woman to See [New Republic]

Meet Valerie Jarrett, the Woman Who Taught Al Sharpton to Lower His Voice