Obama dispatched Valerie Jarrett in 2008 to woo the reverend
Near the end of 2007, Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett met with Al Sharpton in New York City and began to cement a relationship that would eventually make the inflammatory activist the president’s “go-to man” on race, according to multiple sources.
The backdrop to the incipient Obama-Sharpton alliance was the then-senator’s 2008 presidential campaign, which still hadn’t locked away the black vote, and the political cross-currents created by two other controversial reverends, Jesse Jackson and Jeremiah Wright.
That tentative relationship has now grown into a full-blown partnership that has vastly increased the once-shunned Sharpton’s influence and prestige and elevated him into a key White House ally at a time of heightened tension over policing and race.
So it was with great annoyance that the Obama campaign read in September that Jesse Jackson had criticized Obama for not speaking out enough about the controversial Jena Six case in Louisiana.
Jackson said Obama had not adequately weighed in and was “acting like he’s white,” adding that “if I were a candidate, I’d be all over Jena.”
And as it turned out, from her days in Chicago, Jarrett already “hated Jesse Jackson,” a source close to Sharpton tells me. “Obama needed a legitimate black voice from the civil-rights community,” the source adds. “Jesse had made disparaging comments about Obama, [so] Jesse got sidelined. Sharpton is the next person in line.”
“I had already had a developing dialogue with [Obama], and he even spoke at [National Action Network’s] 2007 convention in April,” Sharpton tells me. He adds: “I’ve known Ms. Jarrett as introduced to me by the president. . . . I don’t remember ever meeting her in the Grand Havana Room. Does she smoke cigars?” -Al
~ Note obama spoke at NAN as late as last April:
Regardless of the venue, sources close to Sharpton say that in late 2007 or early 2008, Jarrett negotiated a simple deal with the reverend: Sharpton would discreetly support Obama for president, working mostly behind the scenes; he wouldn’t publicly criticize Obama, but he also wouldn’t back him in a way that aroused attention.
Then again, such tacit-support agreements are Sharpton’s “standard M.O.,”
“Sharpton is the only guy who prospers for not making an endorsement. . . . I don’t think Obama ever wanted Sharpton to endorse him — Obama wanted some distance. . . . [The campaign] didn’t want Sharpton to hurt Obama, but they didn’t want him to be too helpful, either.”
– Wayne Barrett, a veteran New York political investigative reporter
The logs also show that often these meetings have been with either Valerie Jarrett or her staff, who have continued to help manage the Sharpton-Obama relationship. But in an interview with NRO, Sharpton downplayed both the number of meetings and the importance of his relationship with Jarrett.
Jamal Watson, author of a forthcoming biography of Sharpton, tells me, “Valerie Jarrett has become an important ally to Al Sharpton and has become the conduit between the Obama administration and Sharpton and the civil-rights community.”
Read the full piece by Jillian Kay Melchior. It is a fascinating read!
Also See: mdm president: Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s ‘Berlin Wall’