Monday, October 27, 2008

Long by Obama's Side, an Adviser Fills a Role That Exceeds His Title

A nice article about David Axelrod:

As Mr. Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, heads into the final days of his race for the White House, an ever-widening sphere of aides surrounds him. But almost none is as responsible for his current station as Mr. Axelrod, whose title of chief strategist only hints at the extensive role he has played in the senator’s evolution: friend, adviser and confidant, always at the elbow of this candidate.

In many ways, Mr. Axelrod is a classic example of the Washington political consultant (even though he lives in Chicago and says he has no intention of moving to the capital if Mr. Obama wins). He has been making advertisements and offering advice for candidates for mayor, senator and president for a generation, since quitting his job as a newspaper reporter in 1984. He has a particular specialty in helping black candidates appeal to white electorates and has tallied up a list of corporate clients along the way.

But Mr. Axelrod, in this client-consultant relationship, appears to be something different, with a personal investment in Mr. Obama’s success that is obvious in the distress marked on his face whenever the candidate comes under attack.

Every politician has a guardian angel, and every presidential hopeful has a right-hand dispenser of wisdom. Yet in the trio of top strategists around Mr. Obama, including Robert Gibbs, a senior communications adviser, and David Plouffe, the campaign manager, it is Mr. Axelrod who has been at Mr. Obama’s side the longest and has the most interwoven relationship with him.

October 27, 2008

Long by Obama’s Side, an Adviser Fills a Role That Exceeds His Title

CHICAGO — The senator calls before bedtime.

The cellphone in David Axelrod’s shirt pocket comes to life, sometimes before midnight, sometimes after. If the ring tone is “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” by Stevie Wonder, he steps away from the dinner table or the barstool. It almost certainly means Senator Barack Obama is on the line, ready for another turn of a rolling conversation the two men have been having most every day for what has been a remarkable two years.

“When the phone rings at 11, I have a pretty good sense of who it’s going to be,” Mr. Axelrod said. “He does a lot of thinking and working late at night.”


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