The New York Times piece "The Other Power in the West Wing" profiles former Grove Parc slum landlady and Chicago political power broker Valerie Jarrett who is hte real power behind the throne at the White House. She is the gatekeeper, the power broker, and is even described as "Obama's Spine" - a clear reference to Karl Rove as "Bush's Brain".
Ms. Jarrett often serves as a counterweight to the more centrist Clinton veterans in the administration, reminding them and her innately cautious boss that he came to Washington to do big things. Some of his boldest moves, on women’s issues, gay rights andimmigration, have been in areas she cares about most. If Karl Rove was known as George W. Bush’s political brain, Ms. Jarrett is Mr. Obama’s spine.