President Obama’s senior adviser Valerie Jarrett turned her address to J Street today into a standard campaign stump speech laced with a touch of Hebrew and a vow that her boss has an “ironclad” commitment to Israel.
Jarrett got a standing ovation from the group when she walked out for the afternoon plenary address, gushing, “When I look around the audience I see so many friends.”
After telling the crowd that she is one-eighth Jewish, she launched into a full-throated push of the Obama campaign’s 2012 themes: fair shot, fair share, GM, playing by the same set of rules, job growth, all-of-the-above energy strategy.
“Change is not so easy, not for the faint of heart,” she said. “Today, we’re beginning to see what change looks like.”
And the crowd that had gathered together to talk about a two-state solution (or one-state, in some corners) was largely in one state of mind as they cheered Jarrett’s talking points.
“Change is passing comprehensive health reform,” she said, earning the longest applause of the conference and a standing ovation. “We celebrated our second anniversary last week, and of course today is a very important day at the Supreme Court.”
The White House, however, eschewed any official celebration to mark the date.
When she launched into talk of protecting women’s health choices, the allusion to the contraception mandate got more applause than the death of Osama bin Laden.
While Jarrett said she’d leave most of the foreign policy talk to the next speaker, Biden adviser Tony Blinken, she spent some of the later part of her speech on just that, promising that the president has a “commitment to the security of Israel.”
“We know that some of you are sometimes frustrated with the pace of the peace process,” she said. “Peace is in the long-term interest of Israel, it’s in the interest of the Palestinian people, it’s in the interest of the region, and it’s in the interest of the world.”
Jarrett said Iran would continue to be isolated to deal with its “illicit nuclear pursuits.”
“I know this president very well — 20 years — and I know he means what he says and he says what he means,” she said.
Playing off the theme of the conference, “Making History,” Jarrett wrapped up on a campaign note: “Together, we can make our own history.”