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.”

Full article here


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)

40 Responses to “friends”

  1. 1 jacquelineoboomer
    August 26, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

  2. 3 jacquelineoboomer
    August 26, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me. — Henry Ford

  3. 6 Marlz
    August 26, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    To be a friend of the most powerful man in the world . . . AWESOME!
    I envy their friendship!

    • 7 isonprize
      August 27, 2011 at 10:28 am

      You know what, I think that Pres. Obama, in many ways, feels lucky to have THEM as friends. If you really look at his childhood, as positive as it is painted, it had to be pretty lonely. He was the oldest, (yes, with a younger sister, but she didn’t come along til later) who got moved around alot. As my sweet momma would say, he was moved “from pillar to post” He had to do a lot of growing up on his own, in his own head.

      To find friends that keep him steady, that he could help, and in turn they help him? That is priceless!! Marty Nesbitt has been with him thru thick and thin. And Valarie Jarrett, if I remember correctly, knew both he and Michelle before they got married. She’s fierce when it comes to defending her Barack. But not in a mother figure way, kinda like in a ‘older sister’ way. She probably doesn’t hesitate to let him know if she thinks he’s wrong about something, too!!

      I don’t know much about Eric Whitaker. But if he’s in the ‘circle’ he’s gotta be a good man AND wicked smart, too!

  4. 8 jacquelineoboomer
    August 26, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    The making of friends who are real friends, is the best token we have of a man’s success in life. — Edward Everett Hale

    (Okay, I’ll stop.)

  5. August 26, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    I LOVE this photo! It reveals an incredible sense of ease and intimacy. I love that he has this trusted circle that he keeps forever close. Valerie Jarrett must have so very many stories…..

  6. August 26, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    So glad that he has them.

  7. 14 utaustinliberal
    August 26, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    I’m so glad he has this triplet of friends. It is so important for a President who is also the most important man in the world to have a core group of people that he can be 100% himself with. The picture just shows the level of trust, comfort, and warmth they find in their friendship. Nice article to accompany a beautiful picture.

  8. August 26, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    And you know the MSM is circling them like buzzards looking for anything that will compromise PBO or his friends. i forgot the scandal rags too.

    • 16 jacquelineoboomer
      August 26, 2011 at 11:12 pm

      One thing I’m proudest of … despite incredible attempts, I’m sure, to find any scandalous behavior of our President throughout his life, you never hear anyone – who knows him intimately – ever say a negative word about him. No one in his past life has come forward. I’m also sure every Clinton supporter in ’08 – not to mention all the Republican challengers at the time – tried to find something, but there wasn’t anything uncovered.

      Sure, PBO did some things he shouldn’t have in his young life, but he owned up to them himself in his books, etc.

      His is a life well lived.

      • August 27, 2011 at 12:13 am

        This is because Pres. Obama has excellent judgement. Look at the people that are close to him or in his circle and then look at the bitter ones on the outside. mad they didn’t get an invite or he didn’t come to your yearly pimpfest. petty backstabbing people. And Jesse Jackson had the nerve to question the people close to him when he himself was caught on mic saying he wants to cut off Obama’s nuts? come on man.

        • 18 EDP4BHO
          August 27, 2011 at 12:22 am

          I didn’t know Jesse Jackson commented on PBO’s circle. I know Cornball West did. As for the bitter ones not being invited, they should have been like Rev Al….just be frank but be supportive, and not try to dictate to the President. Rev Al gets invites regularly and has the President’s ear. Why, because he’s not vindictive. If any of those black intellectuals/not thought they would bully PBO into welcoming them into his home, they blew it long ago. Let em eat cake !

          • August 27, 2011 at 12:26 am

            Yes, at the CBC town hall in Miami he commented that they (meaning himself and other Black “leaders”) want to help Pres. Obama win but those close to him want to make him lose. Why would Pres. Obama want any of them in his circle?

            • August 27, 2011 at 12:32 am

              Jesse Jackson is a big disappointment.

              • August 27, 2011 at 11:35 am


          • 22 Puddin"
            August 27, 2011 at 2:38 am

            I am glad PBO knows how to feed them with a long handled spoon….

          • 23 Charmed
            August 27, 2011 at 9:57 am

            I remember when the media was always saying that President Obama was keeping his distance from Sharpton during the election because he was basically toxic and now they say PBO is to close to Sharpton. They act like Sharpton agrees with everything PBO does but he actually doesn’t and he says when he doesn’t. The difference is, he doesn’t call him names or undermine him.

            • August 27, 2011 at 11:37 am

              but when you try to tell these people that its okay to criticize the president but leave out the personal attacks, lies, etc. They immediately accuse you of telling them to sit down, shut up and take whatever shit sandwich Pres. Obama gives them – their characterization not mine. I have to laugh though because they like to think of themselves as being productive when they pound against the keyboards.

          • 25 isonprize
            August 27, 2011 at 10:34 am

            Plus, Rev. Al has actually done something for people. As opposed to Corny and Travesty, who are just blowhards. Jesse was cool, back in the day, but his private life is very messy.

            There is someone out there now, asking for any contact with any of Barack’s old girlfriends. Just trying to stir up trouble. They are looking, crawling under rocks, digging in the dirt, sniffing around trying to get a morsel of a scandal to run with. They are not going to find anything. For real. They are just not going to find anything. He’s just that good. Like Marty Nesbitt said, “…uh, he’s smarter.”

            • August 27, 2011 at 11:38 am

              let them keep snooping. If no one came out before what makes them think these people are going to come out now? they should just stick to the CbC and the Soul Patrol.

            • August 27, 2011 at 11:39 am


      • 28 EDP4BHO
        August 27, 2011 at 12:17 am

        Ah, most of us smoked a little weed as younguns…..no biggie 😀

  9. 30 GGail
    August 26, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    Sing along with me – “Yes, you gotta have friendssssss”

  10. 31 HZ
    August 26, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    When I see them together with him, I feel peace and trust within their space. That is so special.HZ

  11. August 27, 2011 at 12:23 am

    Wait. None of these people look like “…..upper middle-class white and Jewish men who consider themselves very smart, very savvy and very effective in getting what they want.” And there are two Black men there but that doesn’t make sense because “……Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men.” ” When he meets an independent black brother, it is frightening. And that’s true for a white brother.” Are you sure this isn’t Photoshopped?

    p.s. for those who don’t know the quotes are from Cornel West who wishes he knew Pres. Obama as well as these people. Doesn’t stop him from making shit up though.

    • 33 Puddin"
      August 27, 2011 at 2:42 am

      My Papa used to say, people with gap (in their teeth) tell lies…he would be joking , but it seems to be true about Cornel West!

      • 34 nathkatun7
        August 27, 2011 at 4:47 am

        Sorry, but I totally resent that! I think your papa’s joke was hurtful and uncalled for. I have a gap in my teeth. I don’t tell lies and I hate liars. I am not sure that people’s physical looks have anything to do with their behavior. Tavis Smiley , Dr West’s side kick, has no gap in his teeth, but he tells as many lies about the President as Dr. West.

      • August 27, 2011 at 11:44 am

        I’ve never heard that. I do know that in parts of Africa (I don’t know which but a few Africans have told me) someone with a gap is someone who is open and trustworthy. What I don’t trust and have never trusted about Cornel West types is how they use a certain style of speaking. He’s way too smooth and flowery in his everyday speaking and as a woman my bull shit meter has always gone off about him even before Pres. Obama.

    • August 27, 2011 at 9:16 am

      As I have said before, you still can be a fool even though you have education, you’re just a educated fool. Meet Corny West

    • 37 isonprize
      August 27, 2011 at 10:43 am

      Doesn’t stop him from making shit up though. THIS!! 😆 😆

  12. 39 Pamela
    August 27, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    I’ll be his friend.

  13. 40 carolyn
    August 27, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    “To have a friend, you must be one.” His long friendships shows how steady and true he is. He has a gift for friendship, and maintains those friendships. He chooses his friends well, and they have chosen well. This is another high recommendation for him.

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