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December 14, 2008

Barack Obama’s Inner Circle – Their Plan To Remain Close

obama-friends-martin-nesbitt-valerie-jarrett-dr-eric-whitaker Obama’s Inner Circle: Left to right – Martin Nesbitt, Valerie Jarrett, Dr. Eric Whitaker

Last Sunday night, President-elect Barack Obama’s three closest friends — Valerie Jarrett, Martin Nesbitt and Dr. Eric Whitaker — sat down in the study of Mr. Nesbitt’s house in Chicago for one of their increasingly frequent heart-to-hearts.

They were puzzling over a new question: how the Obamas, who hope to remain close to their Chicago friends, will spend time with them while living in the isolation chamber of the White House. Over Diet Cokes, the three drafted the beginnings of an elaborate visiting schedule that will bring Hyde Park to Washington, so the nation’s new first family can have a little taste of home.

“O.K, Eric, you need to plan to be in D.C. the first six weekends of the presidency,” Ms. Jarrett, soon to be a senior White House adviser, instructed Dr. Whitaker, he recalled.

In the presidential campaign, the Obamas had a “no new friends” rule, surrounding themselves with a coterie of familiar faces. Even if the Obamas lift that rule in Washington, newcomers are unlikely to replicate the intensity of this group’s ties, formed over more than a decade by births and deaths, Scrabble games, barbecues and vacations, but also by shared beliefs about race, success and responsibility.

Back when the Obamas were hardly the most prominent members of the group, the doctors, lawyers and businessmen from Chicago became not just one another’s friends but also one another’s supporters, forming a network that eventually helped the politician among them on his way to a Senate seat and then the presidency. Their bonds grew only tighter in the long slog of the campaign.

“We knew Barack running for president would be hard on him and Michelle, but we didn’t realize the impact it would have on us,” said Dr. Whitaker, speaking of the frenetic travel schedule he and other friends maintained to keep Mr. Obama company, the scrutiny they endured and the sometimes disconcerting way that proximity to the Obamas affected their own relationships and careers.

“Marty and Eric and I will get together just to talk through experiences we’ve been through,” Ms. Jarrett said. “People are far more interested in us than any of us have ever experienced in our lives.”

And Mr. Obama is not even president yet. Soon they will no longer be the best friends of a newly successful politician but of the most powerful man in the world. Though Mr. Obama’s friends vow their friendships will not change, they all sound a bit worried: that others will try to take advantage, that they will no longer be regarded on their own terms but in relation to Mr. Obama, or that they will say something that will reflect badly on him. For all of their immense pride in the Obamas, for all the dazzle of the campaign and the White House, being a first friend “is not all fun and games,” Dr. Whitaker said.

The Obama social universe is large, multiracial and far-flung, spanning law school buddies, political allies and friends who kept Mrs. Obama company during her husband’s long absences. But the Obamas’ closest friends are the tight bunch from the South Side of Chicago, who never expected to find themselves in this situation.

Like Mrs. Obama, whose father worked for the city water department, most are from modest backgrounds. (When Mrs. Obama directed a student-volunteerism program at the University of Chicago in the mid-1990s, she was employed by the same office for which her mother had once worked as a secretary.) Mr. Nesbitt, now a real estate executive, is the son of a steel mill worker and a nurse; Mr. Whitaker’s mother was also a nurse, his father a bus driver. Like Mr. Obama, they attended private schools on scholarship.

When they arrived at elite universities, they often found they were among the only blacks in their classrooms. In medical school in Chicago, Dr. Whitaker and Mr. Nesbitt’s wife were taken under the wing of Dr. James Bowman, Ms. Jarrett’s father and the first black tenured professor in his department. (Dr. Whitaker also earned a public health degree at Harvard, where he played basketball with a certain lanky law review president with a funny last name.)

“How many African-Americans are there going to be at the University of Chicago?” Mr. Nesbitt said, explaining how he and Craig Robinson, Mrs. Obama’s brother, now a college basketball coach, became close at business school there, years after meeting on a basketball recruiting trip.

(more…)

December 6, 2008

President-elect Obama Will Create Jobs, Jobs and More Jobs!

In his weekly address, President-elect Barack Obama said he would invest record amounts of money in a vast infrastructure program, which also includes work on schools, sewer systems, mass transit, electric grids, dams and other public utilities.

Jobs will also include infrastructure projects to repair roads and bridges, while also pushing a federal effort to bring in new-era jobs in technology and green jobs.

Obama also promises to upgrade computers in schools, expand broadband Internet access, make government buildings more energy efficient and improve information technology at hospitals and doctors’ offices.

“We need action — and action now,” Obama, said in his weekly address to the nation.

 

happy-holidays-15

November 30, 2008

Dr. Susan Rice To Be Nominated As US Ambassador To The United Nations

susan-rice Susan Rice, a Barack Obama confidant is reportedly the president-elect’s leading candidate for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

ABC News reports that an announcement on Rice will come this week.

The network appears to have an inside track on the story – Rice’s husband, a former Canadian journalist – Ian Cameron, is the executive producer of ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

Rice, 44, was a member of President Bill Clinton’s National Security Council and the former assistant secretary of state for African affairs under Madeleine Albright.

She was, in fact, an Albright protégé and in 1997, advanced ahead of several more senior officials to become one of the youngest assistant secretaries of state ever.

Rice served as a senior foreign policy adviser to Obama during his presidential campaign. She’s been a vocal critic of the current administration’s stance on Darfur, describing it as a policy of “bluster and retreat.”

Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in April 2007, Rice said the U.S. should take military against Sudan if the genocide in Darfur continued.

“Some might argue that it’s unthinkable in the current context,” she testified. “Yet to allow another state to deter the U.S. by threatening terrorism would set a terrible precedent. It would also be cowardly and, in the face of genocide, immoral.”

Rice’s acumen on African affairs would be an obvious asset for the UN position. Roughly two-thirds of all discussions at the UN Security Council regard situations in Africa.

“She was one of the few people to live in the foreign-policy world who understood global issues, transnational issues like human rights, climate change and terrorism,” Tim Wirth, head of the United Nations Foundation, said recently of Rice.

Wirth worked with Rice when she was at the National Security Council.

Rice and her husband married in Washington in 1992 after meeting at Stanford University. They have two children.

Rice worked in Toronto in the early 1990s as an international management consultant at McKinsey and Company while Cameron was employed by the CBC in the same city as a producer.

A Rhodes Scholar, Rice received the National Security Council’s Samuel Nelson Drew Memorial Award for distinguished contributions to the formation of peaceful, co-operative relationships between countries, and to U.S. security policy for global peace.

The Washington, D.C. born Rice has said that as a young girl, she “dreamed of becoming the first U.S. senator from the District of Columbia.”

Like all U.S. ambassadors, Rice must be nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

The current UN ambassador is Zalmay Khalilzad, who succeeded acting ambassador Alejandro Daniel Wolff.

Wolff temporarily replaced John Bolton, who resigned in the face of poor confirmation prospects after the 2006 mid-term elections returned a Democratic majority.

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November 27, 2008

President-Elect Obama’s Thanksgiving Address

 

“So this weekend — with one heart, and one voice, the American people can give thanks that a new and brighter day is yet to come.” President-elect Barack Obama

Watch President-Elect and Michelle Obama Interview With ABC’s Barbara Walters

Another great interview! President-elect Obama will be President for all Americans and he will work hard to make the life of ordinary Americans better.  Of course that means that the wealthiest among us will do great as well.

It will take some time and effort to fix the economy but President Obama will work hard and diligently for us. 

 

“Where there is unity there is always victory.” Publilius Syrus

Thanksgiving Reflections

On this Thanksgiving, the table will be full and inviting as always but the prospect of very hard times to come is at the back of many of our minds.

We’ll enjoy each other’s company today. We will declare our gratitude for all the blessings we’ve received – and we should.

We’ll enjoy the smell of turkey in the oven, we’ll feast on delicious stuffing, and we’ll savor the lightest fluffiest mash and relish delicious cranberries and take pleasure in the bouquet and taste of warm apple and pumpkin pie. There will be plenty to go around, as always.

But this is a difficult Thanksgiving. The horizon is clouded. What seems likely is that in the months and, perhaps years ahead, many of us will lose jobs, lose investments, lose the prospect of the futures we’ve worked and saved for…I hope I’m wrong.

It is possible that we’re at a low point  in the business cycle, that the economy will rebound, that the recession will be short-lived. No one knows. But most of us who work for a living are scared. We’ve seen enough to know we’ve not seen this before.

We are thankful today. What matters most is the support and company of family and friends, the joy that comes from a deep faith in God and the hope that lies ahead. In these times, we need to reflect more deeply on the meaning of giving thanks.

During the Great Depression President Franklin Roosevelt said, “The future of many generations of mankind will be greatly guided by our acts in these present years. We hew a new trail. Let us then on the day appointed offer our devotions and our humble thanks to Almighty God and pray that the people of America will be guided by Him in helping their fellow men.”

So as difficult as it maybe today or tomorrow or the day after – someone is worse off than you. Someone may need a little help or your time or your ears. You can help without giving money. So in these times remember to appreciate what you have and dwell less on what you think you don’t have.

So let’s look outward and look ahead as FDR advised. Let us give thanks for the opportunity to share and depend on each other in new ways, for our faith in each other and for the idealism that makes our America great.

We do indeed have cause to worry. But we also have an obligation – to each other – to hold on to hope. We may face the greatest test of our lifetimes. But as long as we have each other and that deep sense of what really matters in life and hope we have reason to give thanks.

Help a family member.  Help a friend.  Help a neighbor. Help a stranger.

Give thanks!

 happy-thanksgiving

November 26, 2008

Wed., 11/26: Barbara Walters Interviews President-elect Obama Tonight At 10pm EST. Obama to Meet Sarah Palin.

Obama Economy President-elect Obama really, really wants to keep his BlackBerry.

The President-elect tells Barbara Walters in an interview airing Wednesday night that he’s trying to talk the Secret Service and others into letting him keep his wireless device.

Authorities fear hackers could break into his inbox and harvest data that’s potentially damaging to national security.

Obama Walters “This is a problem,” Obama said with a laugh in the interview which will broadcast on ABC at 10pm EST tonight.  Obama believes that keeping his BlackBerry at hand will allow him to keep a better handle on his job because he will be ‘in-touch’ and not isolated from the ‘pulse’ of the nation.

“I’m negotiating to figure out how can I get information from outside of the 10 or 12 people who surround my office in the White House. Because one of the worst things I think that could happen to a President is losing touch with what people are going through day to day,” he told Walters.

In other news, Obama will come face-to-face with the Energizer Alaskan Governor who just won’t quit.   Obama’s team announced yesterday that he would meet in Philadelphia next Tuesday, December 2 with Democratic and Republican governors to bring them up to speed on his plans to reverse the financial meltdown.

“We’re going to be working very closely with governors,” Obama said yesterday. “This economic recovery plan will require their input, their participation.”

pres-elect-joe-biden1 Both President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Biden will be at the governors’ summit.

 

Obama Messages

Obama Messages

Thousands write UNITY messages for President-elect Obama

at the wall between the Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool in DC.

 

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