As Barack and Michelle Obama‘s time in office draws to a close, the president’s senior advisor Valerie Jarrett is looking back on her 25-year friendship with the Obamas — and their incredible journey to the White House.
In a new interview with The Real airing this Friday, Jarrett describes first meeting the Obamas in the early 1990s when they were a young, engaged couple with bright futures. Jarrett, then deputy chief of staff for former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, recalls wooing Michelle away from a private law firm.
“I was trying to recruit the first lady to come and work with me in the mayor’s office in Chicago and we ended up having dinner,” Jarrett says. “And I will tell you, they are the same in terms of their core values, their commitment to public service. That was before the president was even in the state Senate. But we were talking about, they’re so talented and what do they want to do with that talent and how do they want to give back.”
“And so their core values, their kind of moral compass, their caring about people who are left behind and who they need to be lifted up with some support — all of those core principles were there,” she continued. “And I’ve enjoyed watching them marry and grow and raise these two amazing daughters.”
“So proud, so proud of them both,” Jarrett added.
As for the Obamas’ legacy, Jarrett hopes the president and first lady will be remembered for their unwavering devotion to helping every American.
“Since I’ve been there since Day 1 I can say, they just wake up every single day thinking about you — and thinking about what they can do to ensure that everybody gets that fair shot in our country,” Jarrett says.