Person of the Week: Reggie Love

Reggie Love, Obama's "body man" on the trail, follows him to the White House.

Jan. 23, 2009— -- Reggie Love is only 26, but he is as close to the president as anyone.

He's not family or Secret Service. He's Obama's "body man," a title given to the personal aide of every president and presidential candidate.

Since 2005, Love hasn't strayed far from the president's side, accompanying him on the campaign trail, offering support.

"Reggie is with me all the time," Obama told ESPN during the presidential campaign last summer. "He is the person who keeps me on schedule."

From keeping the newly-minted president on schedule to anticipating his needs, Love is prepared for anything.

"I am an extra set of hands, if he ever needs it," Love said. "Anything that I can do to make life just a little bit easier is, you know, part of my job."

In his travel bag, Love carries anything and everything -- from cold medicine to breath mints.

"Note pads. Lint-- This is like a lint brush," Love said, pulling out tools from his arsenal. "Toothbrush, Scope, cough drops, Tylenol, aspirin, Sudafed..."

The candidate and the body man bonded with sports. The two men began a ritual of basketball on primary days for luck after they skipped it twice and lost in New Hampshire and Nevada.

"Reggie is the best athlete that I know," Obama told ESPN last summer.

Love played basketball and football at Duke University and had dreams of becoming a professional athlete. He was recruited by the NFL, but tryouts fizzled in 2004 and 2005. That's when the Duke graduate with strong grades turned toward politics, landing an internship in the Washington mail room of then-Sen. Obama's office.

"When I first came to D.C. to work for Sen. Obama in the Senate office, I made less than $30,000," Love recalled.

Starting at the bottom, Love worked his way up to his current position. He was promoted within a year and headed off on the campaign trail.

"Which isn't to say that Reggie never screws up," Obama said candidly in an interview with ESPN's "E:60" last summer. "Once when we were already on our way to the airport, I said, 'Reggie, where is my briefcase?' And he didn't say anything, but suddenly these beads of sweat popped on his bald head. The briefcase was not with me."

Love by Obama's Side With Every Step

Despite that one fumble, Love watches Obama's back -- and his waistline. He frequently intercepted brownies from the president while on the campaign trail.

"There are times where he will take a pillow into the hall and sleep while he's waiting for me to brush my teeth," Obama said. "Probably every morning there is at least one thing that I forget in my room that he makes sure to grab. I would have lost my iPod a long time ago."

For the athlete, the campaign trail was tough and demanding, at times.

"It's like a football preseason, except a little bit longer," Love said. It is "physically not as tough, but mentally, very grueling."

Through their long road on the trail together, Obama and Love have bonded, even sharing their favorite music artists.

"I have hipped him to Aretha Franklin and John Coltrane ... and he, in turn, has downloaded Jay-Z and Lil' Wayne and some of these folks so that I am, you know, not a complete fuddy-duddy," Obama said.

Love has become more than an aide. Obama said he's like a "little brother."

By Obama's side, Love has been a witness to a historic presidential campaign, and now the start of Obama's presidency. He's joining Obama in the Oval Office with a new title: personal aide to the president.