Here's a profile I wrote for The Daily Beast about Valerie Jarrett--Obama confidant and incoming senior White House advisor--and all her connections.
In 2007 I invited Valerie Jarrett to the spring Gridiron Dinner in Washington. I knew her from Chicago politics and it seemed clear that she was destined to play a big role on Barack Obama's presidential campaign. I worried--good hostess that I am--that she might be at loose ends before the dinner. But when I checked in with her, she said not to fret, she was hanging out with a cousin.
The cousin turned out to be Ann Jordan, wife of Vernon Jordan, the civil rights leader, powerhouse lawyer, Democratic activist, and Iraq Study Group member, who served as chairman of the Clinton presidential transition team in 1992. Ann Dibble Jordan is a former Chicagoan with deep ties to the University of Chicago, where she is a trustee emeritus.
Like the Jordans, Jarrett is one of those people, back home in Chicago, linked to everyone important. She is part of an elite civic, social, business and political crowd whose lives criss-cross and often intersect at the University of Chicago, where Obama taught law between 1992 and his Senate election in 2004.