By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
There's an "only in Washington" moment coming up November 19, when longtime Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett is expected to walk across Lafayette Square to speak before a private group meeting at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The irony: Not only are the Chamber of Commerce and the White House at war over several issues such as climate control and health reform, but it's Jarrett who's been at the head of attacking the business community's campaign.
On November 19, she's being touted as a key speaker before the business networking group "100 Days In." The one-day dinner and panel discussion take place at the Chamber of Commerce headquarters at 1615 H Street NW, across the park from the White House. The group describes itself as an organization that calls periodic meetings to discuss the progress of the new administration. From its latest meeting memo:
The mission of 100 Days In: Taking a cue from the proverbial 100 days into a president's term, during which America's Commander-in-Chief is typically assessed, this initiative seeks to take the 'pulse' of the current presidential administration in its first 100 days—and beyond.
Jarrett recently slapped the Chamber of Commerce in a Politico story, describing it as out of touch as it moves to build its enormous influence in Washington and as the administration tries to lessen it. Said Jarrett: "We prefer the approach—particularly in this climate—where the actual people who are on the front lines, running businesses, trying to create jobs, come and advise us on policy." Some business leaders, however, say that their advice is being ignored.
For all their disagreements, the Chamber of Commerce and the White House have kept relationships warm on several other issues such as trade and education. And even when they differ, insiders on both sides of Lafayette Square say the lines of communication remain open and regularly used.