Left to right – Martin Nesbitt, Valerie Jarrett, Dr. Eric Whitaker
The State: They golf with him, they vacation with him, their kids and his kids hang out. To them, he is Barack, not Mr. President. He can be teased and tease back.
They form the trusted circle of tightlipped friends who have sustained Barack Obama through good times and bad since his days in Chicago, from Hawaii to Washington to Martha’s Vineyard and back again.
For the most powerful man on the planet who nonetheless may have one of the loneliest jobs, a close band of buddies – Eric Whitaker, Martin Nesbitt and Valerie Jarrett form the core – has become a second family, to a degree replacing the one he lost or never had with the absence of his father and death of his mother in 1995.
Apart from wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha, they are the people he is closest with. And to the president, in his private life a creature of habit, there’s a comfort in turning to trusted friends with whom confidence runs deep and there is no question about where loyalties lie.
“I think that for a president of the United States who’s always on, it’s a relief to be around people who’ve known you for a very long time so that you can just be comfortable, No. 1 being yourself, and No. 2 knowing that you can trust them completely,” Jarrett said in an interview.
“There’s a level of trust that has withstood the test of time. He doesn’t have to worry about his friends leaking the details of his vacation to the press,” she said.
“He enjoys being around people who are completely comfortable teasing him and treating him like a friend and not the president of the United States.”
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CBS: Obama’s Circle Of Friends (January 21, 2009) – ‘From Barry to President Obama; Erin Moriarity speaks with Marty Nesbitt, one of President Obama’s closest friends, about this historic moment and the importance of friendship.’ (You can see the original video here)