American Morning

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November 6th, 2009
10:00 AM ET
November 5th, 2009
07:32 AM ET

Sr. WH Adviser Jarrett also Obama's close friend

So what's it like when one of your closest friends is also your boss – and the president of the United States?

That's life for Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Obama. Suzanne Malveaux has part four of our AM original series, "The Presidential Brain Trust."

November 4th, 2009
12:23 PM ET

Gates is key part of Obama's inner circle

A bipartisan Cabinet. It was one of President Obama's campaign promises.

And he kept his word when he announced President Bush's defense secretary, Robert Gates, would stay on the job at the Pentagon.

In part three of our series, "The Presidential Brain Trust," Barbara Starr has a look at Gates' relationship with the commander-in-chief.

November 3rd, 2009
11:47 AM ET

Robert Gibbs is adviser, friend and mouthpiece for Obama

By Dan Lothian, CNN White House Correspondent

Washington (CNN) - In the tight circle that surrounds President Obama, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs is in the inner bubble.

He's the 3 a.m. wake-up call when North Korea fires a test missile, or when the Nobel committee picks the president for the top award.

"Trust me, it is a job I would gladly give to anybody who would volunteer," Gibbs said.

Or would he?

After all, he's an adviser, a friend and a mouthpiece for the administration with more access than recent press secretaries.

"I can walk in and ask him a question at any given time, pick up the phone and talk to him about anything at any given time. I think [that] makes my job easier," Gibbs said in an exclusive interview with CNN.

The president and the press secretary first connected in 2004 when Obama was a virtual unknown outside of Chicago, Illinois, and was campaigning for the U.S. Senate. They clicked and grew close, leading Obama to tell the Wall Street Journal in a 2008 interview, "Robert is the guy I want in the foxhole with me during incoming fire. If I'm wrong, he challenges me. He's not intimidated by me."

Gibbs chuckled while recalling the comment and quipped, "That is when we called him 'Senator' or by his first name."

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November 1st, 2009
08:53 PM ET

Biden a key part of Obama's inner circle

Watch American Morning all this week for more of our special series, The Presidential Brain Trust.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="President Obama values Joe Biden's advice as truth teller, officials say."]

By Ed Henry
CNN Senior White House Correspondent

Washington (CNN) - Apparently you can take the vice president out of the Senate, but you just can't take the Senate out of the vice president, and that might be the secret to Joe Biden's influence in President Obama's inner circle.

As I waited Friday in the ornate rooms of the old Department of War near Biden's office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House, I kept wondering which Biden was going to show up for our exclusive interview.

Would it be the old Joe that I used to cover as the Senate correspondent for Roll Call newspaper many years ago, who would throw an arm around me in a Capitol hallway and be happy to give a - let's face it - fairly long answer about any subject I'd throw at him?

Biden had this habit of dropping flattery as well as a reporter's name into the answers for familiarity in his gosh-darn-it manner: "Look Ed, I'm literally not just blowing smoke, but you know as much about the Bush tax cuts as I do. ..."

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