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Valerie Jarrett, Obama's senior adviser, speaks to me

Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama, sat with me Monday to talk infrastructure and bullying. An odd selection of topics, I know. But both are relevant. Earlier that day, Obama held a Rose Garden event to spotlight a meeting on America's crumbling infrastructure with a bipartisan group of elected and public officials. As you will hear in this interview with Jarrett, the administration is "looking for ways to target investment that creates jobs and invests in our country." Infrastructure traditionally has enjoyed bipartisan support, something she said the president hoped would continue. Good luck with that. Jarrett insists, though, that he "isn't going to give up."

You'll also hear Jarrett discuss the rash of nationally publicized suicides of gay youth. She addressed the issue head-on at the annual dinner of the Human Rights Campaign last Saturday. As she told the crowd that night and as she told me, this is an issue that hits home for her, "not just as a senior adviser to the president," but "as a mom."

By Jonathan Capehart  | October 13, 2010; 10:23 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

A 15-yr old makes a "lifestyle choice"? Someone who spouts such offensive nonsense advises the president?

Posted by: sshippy | October 13, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Mr Capehart, You didn't challenge her on the use of the abysmal phrase "lifestyle choice"? Amazing, both her phrase and your acceptance of it. A 15-year-old doesn't make a "lifestyle choice."

Posted by: mitchellowens | October 13, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Two things:
1) Lifestyle choice…WTF…Just reinforces my belief that this President and his advisors haven’t got a clue when it comes to the LGBT community…My bet is Brian Bond will be trotted out in 3..2..4..1… to tell us we’re all overreacting and they really do love us cross my heart and hope to die…

2) You get an opportunity to interview the President’s closest advisor and you let her prattle on about gay suicides while offering only platitudes and no concrete solutions…or better yet why not challenge her on the very real disappointment with this President in the LGBT community…Asinine

Posted by: tattooguy29 | October 13, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Being gay is neither a "choice" (as you are well aware, Mr. Capehart) nor is it a "lifestyle". I am quite certain that my "lifestyle" is closer to that of my straight working-class neighbors than to the glitterati hobnobbing at the HRC gala. Furthermore, working toward "civility and tolerance" is a pretty paltry goal, don't you think? I am light years beyond caring whether someone decides to give themselves a pat on the back by "tolerating" my existence. What I want as an American citizen is EQUALITY - anything short of that is simply offensive.

For God's sake, are "our liberal friends" (and their gay enablers) going to remain stuck in 1993 FOREVER?

Posted by: JPJones1 | October 13, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Two things:
1) Lifestyle choice…WTF…Just reinforces my belief that this President and his advisors haven’t got a clue when it comes to the LGBT community…My bet is Brian Bond will be trotted out in 3..2..4..1… to tell us we’re all overreacting and they really do love us cross my heart and hope to die…

2) You get an opportunity to interview the President’s closest advisor and you let her prattle on about gay suicides while offering only platitudes and no concrete solutions…or better yet why not challenge her on the very real disappointment with this President in the LGBT community…Asinine

Posted by: tattooguy29 | October 13, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Obama's choice of advisers is very telling. If I didn't already know that Obama was a homophobe, Valerie Jarrett sure would make it plain.

Posted by: solsticebelle | October 13, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I, too, am mystified by your allowing such an offensive comment to pass. Or not even noting that this is the person the White House is putting out there on gay rights. Seriously? The President doesn't have a single advisor close to him who can even intelligently on gay rights. Very sad.

Posted by: bem629 | October 13, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Forgot to add this -- they likely picked you for the interview because they knew they would not be challenged on their utter lack of failure on civil rights since taking office. Not one promise has been kept (DOMA/ DADT/ ENDA/ UAFA/ NADA).

Posted by: bem629 | October 13, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Wow, what a weak interview. And what a revealing choice of words from a top advisor to our latent-homophobe-in-chief.

Posted by: nuflux | October 13, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

You did look cute in in your little suit and tie .... better luck in your next White House invite to save the midterms.

Jon Capehart unfortunately turning into a more vapid Ryan Seacrest..

Posted by: adamnescot1 | October 13, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Four points:

1. It's not a choice. Saying it is only reinforces the arguments of homophobes would prefer us all to die

2. It was a life cut short, not a "lifestyle".

3. Valerie Jarrett is an idiot and should be fired. It might be useful for the President to actually have some LGBT persons as senior advisors, but it appears they are not welcome in this White House

4. Mr Capehart should have challenged Ms. Jarrett on the spot about the implicit homophobia behind the use of the phrase "lifestyle choice". He try being a journalist instead of a syncophant

Posted by: Basilk | October 13, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

How completely obtuse on the one hand and how totally ignorant on the other.

Posted by: KevinKSF | October 13, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

I can not believe Capeheart got an interview with Jarrett and got these poor results!! "Lifestyle" of a 15 year old my eye balls. Why not ask her about her love of marxism or why she got all that money from Obama in Chicago and built such horrible buildings they had to be torn down? Why not ask her what she advises Obama about? He gets very poor advice from someone since he has to lie all the time. Did Jarrett go to Wright's "church," too?

Posted by: annnort | October 13, 2010 11:35 PM | Report abuse

What a lightweight interview.

Posted by: Jmacaco4 | October 13, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

What?!?!?!?

This woman used the term "lifestyle choice"and you praise her?

WTF?!

She is an ignorant bigot and highlights why Obama is so homophobic.

Posted by: rfarrell7 | October 14, 2010 12:04 AM | Report abuse

The other commenters have pretty much said it all. I just have to say that I find it truly shocking that one of Obama's closest advisers thinks being gay is a "lifestyle choice." And to say that about a 15-year old boy who committed suicide is incredibly ignorant and insensitive.

Again, the other commenters have said it all, but Obama clearly is a homophobe. I figured that out when he allowed Donnie McClurkin to represent him, and I'm so glad that I decided to withhold my vote for President in 2008. I don't know whom I'll vote for in 2012, but it will NOT be Mr. Obama.

Posted by: BostonBoomer | October 14, 2010 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Journalism is a lifestyle choice; you failed on that pick.

Posted by: ELO2 | October 14, 2010 4:06 AM | Report abuse

Mr Capehart - I agree with you 95% of the time. That said, for you to allow Valerie Jarrett to get away with calling homosexuality a "lifestyle choice" is an epic fail. I did not choose to be a gay man; I was BORN a gay man, just as others are born heterosexual or blue-eyed, or female. To call homosexuality a "lifestyle choice" shows ignorance and this is not who I want to see in the White House!

Posted by: mad1026 | October 14, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Just adding my voice to the others. Shame on you for not calling her out on her condescending babble about gay kids topped off with a blame-the-victim superior attitude. The boy is dead, Valerie, and not because he made a "life style choice".

What's next, Obama advisers quoting Paladino and calling those who gave their time and money to get them into office perVERTS? Oh, I forgot, Rahm already called us effing retards.

Posted by: wmforr | October 14, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Jarrett, you had it right the first time! "Lifestyle choice" describes exactly the LBGT community. I know several former, FORMER, gays who CHOSE to leave that lifestyle.

Don't apologize for what you really believe, and don't give in to those derelicts on society who try to force their way of thinking upon the good folks of this country.

Posted by: Mr2u | October 14, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Mr2u - You are an idiot! 15 year olds don't make lifestyle choices. They barely know what a lifestyle is. . .

Posted by: hueylong | October 15, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

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