But she seems like such a pleasant woman to be around.
President Barack Obama’s stunningly bad performance at the first debate was no surprise to his closest advisers — Obama had stormed out of a debate prep session just days before the disaster in Denver.
Before he flopped, Obama’s team pressured their distracted boss to take Mitt Romney more seriously and bear down during debate practice — and he shot back, accusing them of sending him into battle with a mushy, ill-defined plan of attack. […]
But a man with unshakeable confidence was deeply shaken by his own failure in Denver — far more than anyone on the outside could have known at the time. Intuitively, Obama and his top advisers quietly waged a campaign-within-a-campaign to buck up their bummed-out candidate and, even more quietly, to purge distractions and negativity from his midst.
Gone, for a time, was Obama’s beloved iPad, which delivered a stream of sour commentary. Gone too, gently shuttled off to campaign events outside the Air Force One bubble, was his close friend Valerie Jarrett, who had a tendency to “stir him up,” said more than one Obama insider.
Obama campaign officials publicly denied there was any organized effort to get Jarrett out of Obama’s space. But privately, a top Democratic official said they needed to “make sure she wasn’t around all the time … that she was gainfully employed somewhere else.” […]
Obama adviser Jarrett — a close friend of the First Family but an unpopular figure with much of the president’s staff — was irritated with the debate prep team after the Denver debacle. Another adviser said she made it clear “the team, and not just the president, made a strategic miscalculation” and needed to “adjust their antennae.” She hadn’t been part of the debate team and demanded to know why Obama’s other aides hadn’t gotten a heads-up that he was about to bomb.
Her intervention made the situation more fraught than it needed to be, and they took steps to calm the situation.
It would be a good idea, several top staffers quietly agreed, if Jarrett was occupied with business that didn’t offer her much unstructured time with Obama on Air Force One during the final weeks.