New York Times profile scrubs Valerie Jarrett’s radical ties. Family closely linked to Bill Ayers, Frank Marshall Davis
Posted on July 7, 2013 at 7:06 PM EST
By Aaron Klein
A New York Times profile of Valerie Jarrett, President Obama‚Äôs top aide, glosses over her family‚Äôs radical history, including ties to a top communist activist and to former Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers.
The profile, from September 2012, received new found media attention earlier this week after BuzzFeed.com reported White House efforts to defend Jarrett behind the scenes by circulating glowing talking points about her to other administration officials who were candidates to be interviewed for the Times piece.
‚ÄúThe magic of Valerie is her intellect and her heart,‚ÄĚ read the document.
‚ÄúShe is an incredibly kind, caring and thoughtful person with a unique ability to pinpoint the voiceless and shine a light on them and the issues they and the President care about with the ultimate goal of making a difference in people‚Äôs lives,‚ÄĚ memo said.
‚ÄúValerie is the perfect combination of smart, savvy and innovative.
‚ÄúValerie has an enormous capacity for both empathy and sympathy.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúValerie is someone here who other people inside the building know they can trust.‚ÄĚ
Ultimately,¬†the New York Times profile of Jarrett, while mostly positive, was not without criticism.
Reported the Times: ‚ÄúSome of Mr. Obama‚Äôs most senior advisers worry ‚Äď perhaps not entirely without jealousy ‚Äď that her direct access to the president has at times led to half-baked decision making and unclear lines of authority.‚ÄĚ
Radical family ties
However, the Times did not report any of Jarrett‚Äôs radical family connections.
Regarding Jarrett‚Äôs mother, the Times says only that ‚Äúher mother had a Chicago street named after her for her work in early childhood education.‚ÄĚ
As¬†WND was first to report, Jarrett‚Äôs mother, Barbara Taylor Bowman, founded an education initiative alongside Ayers‚Äô family that was funded by Ayers, Obama and ultimately the 2009 ‚Äústimulus‚ÄĚ legislation.
The Chicago school, the Erikson Institute, focuses on training people who work in early childhood development.
Besides founding Erikson, Bowman was president of the institute from 1994 to 2001 and served as the school‚Äôs Irving B. Harris professor of child development.
One of the Erikson Institute‚Äôs former trustees and members of the executive committee is the late Thomas Ayers, father of Bill Ayers.
Bernardine Dohrn, Bill Ayers‚Äô wife, also served on the Erikson board.
In his 1998 book, ‚ÄúA Kind and Just Parent: The Children of Juvenile Court,‚ÄĚ Bill Ayers calls Jarrett‚Äôs mother, Bowman, a ‚Äúneighbor and a friend.‚ÄĚ
Obama and Bill Ayers once funded Erikson together. The Erikson Institute was among the first 35 school partnerships awarded funds in December 1995 by the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Ayers was a founder of the Annenberg Challenge; Obama was hired in 1995 as the group‚Äôs first chairman.
In 2009, Erickson was awarded just shy of $5 million from Obama‚Äôs so-called stimulus legislation.
Frank Marshall Davis connection
The Times profile briefly mentions Jarrett‚Äôs grandfather and father but not her father-in-law, who may have been instrumental in introducing her to Obama and who himself is tied to the president.
The profile states her grandfather, Robert Taylor, ‚Äúbuilt much of Chicago‚Äôs public housing,‚ÄĚ while ‚Äúher father was a pioneering doctor.‚ÄĚ
The Times reported Obama and Valerie Jarrett ‚Äúmet more than two decades ago, when Ms. Jarrett ‚Äď a lawyer, like both Obamas ‚Äď offered Mrs. Obama a job in the Chicago mayor‚Äôs office.‚ÄĚ
However, Jarrett may have been introduced to the Obamas through her father-in-law, a communist sympathizer who worked with Obama mentor Frank Marshall Davis,¬†as WND was first to report.
Jarrett‚Äôs father-in-law, Vernon Jarrett, was an associate of Frank Marshall Davis, the controversial Communist Party activist who has been identified as an early influence on Obama.
Vernon Jarrett and Davis worked together in 1940 in a Communist Party-dominated organization, the Citizen‚Äôs Committee to Aid Packing House Workers. The group‚Äôs own correspondence,¬†previously uncovered by the New Zeal blog, describes its communist influence. Many of its leaders were tied to the Communist Party.
The pair also frequented the South Side Community Art Center, which was dominated by communists. In addition, Davis and Vernon Jarrett worked in the late 1940s on the communist-influenced, black-run Chicago Defender newspaper.
In 1948, Jarrett started a radio show, ‚ÄúNegro Newsfront,‚ÄĚ and went on to become the Chicago Tribune‚Äôs first black syndicated columnist.
A Washington Post obituary of Vernon Jarrett notes he ‚Äústoked the political embers in Chicago that led to the 1983 election of the city‚Äôs first African-American mayor, Harold Washington.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúVernon Jarrett was a key influence in Washington‚Äôs decision to run for the Chicago mayoralty and remained a key supporter through his four-year tenure,‚ÄĚ the newspaper reported.
Obama has hailed Washington‚Äôs victory as a motivation for him to move to Chicago from New York. Washington was involved in communist-dominated circles in Chicago.
Vernon Jarrett clearly watched the rise of Obama as an activist. When Obama worked for Project Vote to register black voters with the intent of aiding the senatorial campaign of Carol Moseley Braun, Jones took note. Obama later took over Braun‚Äôs Senate seat.
Writing in the Chicago Sun-Times in 1992, Jarrett said: ‚ÄúGood news! Good news! Project Vote, a collectivity of 10 church-based community organizations dedicated to black voter registration, is off and running. ‚Ä¶ If Project Vote is to reach its goal of registering 150,000 out of an estimated 400,000 unregistered blacks statewide, ‚Äėit must average 10,000 rather than 7,000 every week,‚Äô says Barack Obama, the program‚Äôs executive director.‚ÄĚ
Valerie Jarrett married Vernon‚Äôs son, William Robert Jarrett, in 1983.
In 1987, she got her start in politics, working for Washington as deputy corporation counsel for finance and development. She was deputy chief of staff for Mayor Richard Daley, during which time she hired Michelle Robinson, who then was engaged to Obama.
Valerie Jarrett went on to run the finances for Obama‚Äôs successful Senate bid in 2004, the year Vernon Jarrett died.