—Valerie Jarrett. A top adviser in Washington, Jarrett is a longtime friend of the Obamas and has become a trusted aide to the president. At the White House, she has been Obama's conduit to the business community and an important sounding board for the first couple. In a nod to their friendship, the Obamas attended the wedding of Jarrett's daughter in Chicago.
—Robert Gibbs was Obama's top campaign spokesman in 2008 and then became White House press secretary. After leaving the podium in early 2011, Gibbs emerged as one of Obama's most ardent defenders during the 2012 Republican primaries and on cable television as the general election took shape. Gibbs was with Obama before Obama gained national prominence during the 2004 Democratic National Convention and understands Obama's message as well as anyone.
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