Barack Obama’s coterie has grown substantially since taking office, but nobody has as much access as David Axelrod, campaign strategist turned special adviser. Though he spends his days fine-tuning every speech, poring over polls, and orchestrating political battles, the New York Times reports, Axelrod is wary of any comparison to a similar figure in the Bush administration: Karl Rove.
Axelrod sees himself as a protector of Obama and his message, not someone with his own broader political strategy. Indeed, the onetime Chicago reporter has made an abrupt transition to Washington’s power circles—“Look, they made me a bureaucrat,” he said showing off a government ID—but remains a voice of outside-the-Beltway reason. “It’s very important to have someone there to understand why Barack Obama ran for president,” says Obama’s campaign manager.