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Obama, Biden appoint advisers

  • Story Highlights
  • Valerie Jarrett named senior adviser for intergovernmental relations
  • Jarrett, longtime friend of Obamas', is co-chairwoman of transition team
  • Phil Schiliro will serve as assistant to the president for legislative affairs
  • Biden confirms appointment of Ron Klain as his chief of staff
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By Paul Steinhauser
CNN Deputy Political Director
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A longtime friend of Barack and Michelle Obama's has been appointed as a senior adviser to the incoming president.

President-elect Obama, in a statement released Saturday morning by his transition staff, announced that Valerie Jarrett will serve as "senior adviser and assistant to the president for intergovernmental relations and public liaison."

Jarrett is co-chairwoman of Obama's transition team and was senior adviser for his presidential campaign. She became the president and CEO of the Habitat Co. on January 31, 2007, and was also the company's vice president. The Habitat Co. develops and manages residential apartments and condominiums.

Before joining the Habitat Co., Jarrett served eight years in government for the city of Chicago, Illinois. She was deputy corporation counsel for finance and development, deputy chief of staff for Mayor Richard M. Daley and finally commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development.

Jarrett met Barack Obama when she hired Michelle Obama for a job in the Chicago mayor's office years ago and has been very close to the two ever since. Video Watch who might be the next secretary of state »

The transition team also made official Saturday the hiring of Ron Klain as chief of staff to the vice president.

Klain was also chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore, but he's no stranger to Vice President-elect Joe Biden, having served as chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee when Biden was the committee chairman.

Klain also served as general counsel of Gore's 2000 Florida recount effort and was portrayed by actor Kevin Spacey in an HBO movie about the event.

This year, Klain helped with debate preparation for both Obama and Biden.

"Ron Klain has been a trusted adviser of mine for over 20 years," a statement from Biden said Saturday morning. "He brings extraordinary judgment, a deep understanding of the important policy issues facing our nation, a wide range of experience in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, as well as a unique understanding of how the vice president's office works."

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The transition team also announced Saturday that Phil Schiliro will serve as assistant to the president for legislative affairs. Schiliro is director of congressional relations for the Obama transition team. Before that, he was a senior adviser to Obama's presidential campaign.

Schiliro has worked in Congress for more than 25 years, in positions including chief of staff to Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California, policy director for then-Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota and staff director for the Senate Democratic Leadership Committee.

All About Barack ObamaMichelle ObamaValerie JarrettJoseph Biden

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