Denis R. McDonough

'First friend' Valerie Jarrett reflects on 8 years in Obama's White House

'First friend' Valerie Jarrett reflects on 8 years in Obama's White House

Valerie Jarrett has played a unique role in the Obama administration.

She was both a senior advisor to the president throughout his eight-year administration — it is extremely rare for White House staffers to stay for the duration — and a close friend of President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. The three have been allies and confidants for 25 years, leading Jarrett to sometimes be called their "first friend."

On Wednesday, with less than a month to go before the Obamas leave the White House, Jarrett reflected on the last eight years while giving few clues about what her future holds.

Jarrett spoke from Chicago's Kenwood neighborhood, where she is spending...

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