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White House wrote memo on ‘magic’ of Valerie Jarrett

Valerie Jarrett. (AP/Evan Vucci) Valerie Jarrett. (AP/Evan Vucci)

After an article in the New York Times painted Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett in a somewhat unflattering light, the White House sent out a memo to staff with ways to praise the adviser, Mark Leibovich reports in his upcoming book "This Town." A copy of the book was obtained by the Washington Post.

[A] top Obama aide forwarded me a set of confidential talking points that were circulated through the West Wing when Becker was reporting her story. The memo, written by deputy press secretary Jamie Smith, was titled "The Magic of Valerie." It included an unrelenting thirty-three talking points, none of which contained the term "manageable problem." [...]

(My personal favorite "Magic of Valerie" bullet point is the one where we learn that "Valerie is someone who other people inside the building know they can trust. (need examples.")

Other talking points emphasize Jarrett's intelligence, empathy, her life experience and her drive. The memo was first reported on by BuzzFeed.

Elsewhere in the book, Leibovich writes that some in the White House believe Jarrett got Secret Service protection only because she wanted to feel as important as fellow Obama aide David Axelrod, who was given a detail after the FBI found information about him on the shooter who attacked the Holocaust museum in 2009.

There is friction between Jarrett and Axelrod, Leibovich reports, who competed to be the president's top adviser.

RELATED: Are you in This Town? The Unauthorized Index

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.



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Rachel Weiner · July 3, 2013

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