Saturday, October 03, 2009

Is Valerie Jarrett Becoming an Olympic-Sized Problem for POTUS?

My hope that Rio would get the Olympic nod seemed like a real long shot--yet look what happened! So here's hoping that the Copenhagen debacle may have outed Chicago slum lord and Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett as being something of a problem for the White House. However, I shouldn't get my hopes up too much, since this is a woman who is very close to the President and who evidently has a great deal of influence, so it's not likely that Obama is going to throw her overboard like he did his pastor or his white grandmother--she's more important to him than they were. Said the New York Times Magazine in an 8,000 word profile published last July, titled "The Ultimate Obama Insider": if Valerie Jarrett told Barack Obama that something was the right thing to do, he would very likely do it.

Wow. So who the hell, exactly, is running our White House?

From the Chicago Tribune, here's an interesting quote worth following up: "The intelligence that we had from the U.S. Olympic Committee and Chicago bid team was that it was very close and therefore well worth our efforts," said Valerie Jarrett, a senior White House advisor. "The message was that . . . a personal appeal from the president would make a huge difference."

So where did this stunningly wrong "intelligence" come from? It looks like Jarrett would like to hand that ball off to someone else, and who can blame her: the Chicago team was pushing for the president to make the trip. [Chicago Mayor] Daley and Patrick Ryan, chairman of Chicago 2016, were among those who told the White House that the nose count showed a presidential visit might close the sale, Jarrett said. "It's a secret ballot. You can't necessarily be certain that the people who tell you they'll vote for you ultimately will," Jarrett said. "So I'm sure they did the very best they could do to get the intelligence they had."

The article continues: In the spring, Jarrett told an IOC panel that the White House was prepared to lend enormous logistical support to the Games. But the healthcare bill now grinding its way through Congress was a complication [emphasis mine]. The health care bill was a complication?

Jarrett flew back home with Obama on Air Force One. She said he was unfazed by the loss. That's a nice spin, Valerie, but I doubt that it was true for Obama, and it almost certainly wasn't true for you. Michelle Malkin did a lot of research for this "ultimate White House insider" for her book, Culture of Corruption. Malkin says that bringing the Olympics to Chicago for Mayor Daley was one of Jarrett's "pet causes." Malkin points out that Jarrett needed an ethics waiver in order to lead the White House’s effort to support Chicago’s bid to secure the 2016 Olympics.

This is from Norm Eisen, special counsel to the president for ethics and government reform, where he effectively says that the White House rules against hiring lobbyists apply--unless they don't: We decided that a waiver of Paragraph 2 was in the public interest in order to help bring the Olympics back to the United States. Valerie’s past experience with Chicago 2016 makes her ideal to work with the city and its bid committee to help win the Olympics for the U.S., with the many benefits that would bestow. In her time working with the City of Chicago on its bid, she developed knowledge about the process that will make her a powerful advocate and liaison. Although Valerie previously volunteered with Chicago 2016, she has no continuing financial relationship with them. Since the Administration already plans on vigorously supporting the United States’ sole 2016 Olympic bid, we felt that letting Valerie lead our efforts was strongly in the public interest.

Update: Big Hollywood has an article by Adam Baldwin about Jarrett: "Olympian Fail: Valerie Jarrett's Third Strike?"

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