More than any other figure, David Axelrod made Barack Obama president. He was the brain behind the winning message, right down to the words “hope and change.” The New York Times dubbed him “Obama’s Narrator.” He was the architect and author. The Obama persona was in large part Ax’s carving.
As such, David Axelrod is a significant figure worth knowing and understanding. Two years ago, in a feature for the Spectator on Axelrod (“David Axelrod, Lefty Lumberjack,” TAS, March 2012), I endeavored to uncover his roots. Among my findings, Axelrod’s Chicago mentors—the Canter family—were not only old hardline pro-Soviet communists, but, in an amazing twist, they knew and worked with Frank Marshall Davis, who would meet and mentor Obama in Hawaii in the 1970s. The senior Canter was brought to Moscow during the height of the Stalin period to work as an official translator of Lenin’s writings.