President Obama turned 50 on Thursday and one of his closest friends and advisors, Valerie Jarrett, noted in a Huffington Post column posted Friday that she has known him for 20 of those years.
"Twenty years ago last month, I met a remarkable young man named Barack Obama. Since then, I've been honored to join him along his journey, from the Illinois State Senate all the way to the Oval Office," writes Jarrett,
Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement.
More from Jarrett: "I remember the very first conversation I had with Barack and Michelle, over dinner in Chicago. Even back then, it was clear that the president had a remarkable clarity of vision, and an abiding faith in the power of ordinary individuals to do extraordinary things. He spoke about growing up around people of different cultures. He told me he believed that even though we all come from unique backgrounds, we can still form strong and lasting bonds with one another."