New York Times project (but I'm totally not affiliated with the NYT!!)

What is this? This year (2010), I wanted to work on a project that helped keep me in the moment.
Each day (or so), while I read the NYTimes on-line, I'll select an article.
Next, I count to the 2010th character, and select a randomly number of characters that come next.
I take this result, and cut it down to a short passage (that may or may not have ANYTHING to do with the original story)
These passages are listed here, by date
See All

03/07/2010

'took the presidents great strength'

WASHINGTON David Axelrod was sitting at his desk on a recent afternoon tie crooked, eyes droopy and looking more burdened than usual. He had just been watching some genius on MSNBC insist that he and President Obamas other top aides were failing miserably and should be replaced.
Typical Washington junk we have to deal with, Mr. Axelrod said in an interview. The president is deft at blocking out such noise, he added, suddenly brightening. I love the guy, he said, and in the space of five minutes, repeated the sentiment twice.
Critics, pointing to the administrations stalled legislative agenda, falling poll numbers and muddled messaging, suggest that kind of devotion is part of the problem at the White House. Recent news reports have cast the White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, as the administrations chief pragmatist, and Mr. Axelrod, by implication, as something of a swooning loyalist. Ive heard him be called a Moonie, dismissed Mr. Axelrods close friend, former Commerce Secretary William Daley. Or as the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, joked, the guy who walks in front of the president with rose petals.
Still, it is a charge that infuriates Mr. Axelrod, the presidents closest aide, longest-serving adviser and political alter ego. I guess I have been castigated for believing too deeply in the president, he said, lapsing into the sarcasm he tends to deploy when playing defense.
No one has taken the perceived failings of the administration more personally or shown the strain as plainly as Mr. Axelrod, who as White House senior adviser oversees every aspect of how Mr. Obama is presented. As such, Mr. Axelrod, the presidents mustachioed message maven, has felt the brunt of criticism over what many view as the administrations failure to clearly define and disseminate Mr. Obamas agenda and accomplishments for the country.
The Obama White House has lost the narrative in the way that the Obama campaign never did, said James Morone, a political scientist at Brown University. They essentially took the presidents great strength as a messenger and failed to use it smartly.
Mr. Axelrod said he accepts some blame for what he called communication failures, though he acknowledges bafflement that the administrations efforts to stimulate the economy in a crisis, overhaul health care and prosecute two wars have been so routinely framed by opponents as the handiwork of a big-government, soft-on-terrorism, politics-of-the-past ideologue.
For me, the question is, why havent we broken through more than we have? Mr. Axelrod said. Why havent we broken through?
That question has dogged Mr. Axelrod in recent months and has preoccupied Mr. Obamas inner circle, fueling speculation that the vaunted No Drama Obama team might be fracturing. Not surprisingly, the White House has no patience for this.
You guys want to fit people into boxes and categories that are just not accurate, Mr. Emanuel said.
Mr. Axelrod would not discuss what counsel he offered to Mr. Obama, though he denies any fissure with my buddy Rahm and any charge that he is too infatuated with the president to recognize the political risks of his ambitious agenda.
Believe me, if we were charting this administration as a political exercise, the first thing we would have done would not have been a massive recovery act, stabilizing the banks and helping to keep the auto companies from collapsing, he said. Those would not even be the first hundred things he would want to do.
But Mr. Axelrod argued that the president, confronted with breathtaking challenges, did not have the luxury of moving more slowly or methodically.
In an interview in his office, Mr. Axelrod was often defiant, saying he did not give a flying expletive about what the peanut gallery thinks and did not live for the approval of the political community. He denounced the rampant lack of responsibility of people in Washington who refuse to solve problems, and cited the difficulty of trying to communicate through what he calls the dirty filter of a city suffused with the every day is Election Day sort of mentality.
When asked how he would assess his performance, Mr. Axelrod shrugged. Im not going to judge myself on that score, he said. But then he shot back: Have I succeeded in reversing a 30-year trend of skepticism and cynicism about government? I confess that I have not. Maybe next year.
The criticism of the administrations communication strategy leveled by impatient Democrats, gleeful Republicans, bloggers and cable chatterers clearly stings Mr. Axelrod, as well as the circle of family, friends and fans he has acquired over three decades in politics as a consultant and, before that, a reporter for The Chicago Tribune.
Every time I hear that the White House is getting the message wrong, it breaks my heart, said Mr. Axelrods sister, Joan, an educational therapist in Boston.
Ms. Axelrod says that while her brother is devoted to Mr. Obama, he is not a sycophant. She paused when asked whether he admired the president too much. He is very, very loyal, sometimes to a fault, she said.
Added Mr. Gibbs: The list of people who have to deliver bad news to the president is very small, and David is first on that list. Im probably second.
Mr. Axelrods friends worry about the toll of his job citing his diet (cold-cut-enriched), his weight (20 pounds heavier than at the start of the presidential campaign), sleep deprivation (five fitful hours a night), separation from family (most back home in Chicago) and the fact that at 55, he is considerably older than many of the wunderkind workaholics of the West Wing. He wakes at 6 in his rented condominium just blocks from the White House and typically returns around 11.
Unlike other presidential alter egos, Mr. Axelrod is not viewed as a surrogate brain (like Karl Rove ), a suspicious outsider (like Dick Morris in the Clinton White House) or a co-president ( James Baker in the first Bush White House). Sometimes portrayed as a bare-knuckled Chicago operative, he is also a bantering walrus of a man in mustard-stained sleeves who describes himself as a kibbitzer, not a policy guy.
Sitting at his desk next door to the Oval Office last week, he was tearing into a five-inch corned beef sandwich on rye with a Flintstone-size turkey drumstick waiting on deck. I am the poster child for the presidents obesity program, he said.
A few minutes later, Mr. Obama walked in unannounced, scattering two aides like startled pigeons. Hey, Mr. Axelrod said by way of greeting (no sir or Mr. President.) Mr. Obama surveyed the spread on Mr. Axelrods desk with a slight smirk.
What is this, King Arthurs court? he asked, then pulled Mr. Axelrod aside to talk about a health care speech he was about to deliver.
Mr. Axelrod is often at the presidents side; he sits in on policy and national security meetings and is routinely the last person he talks to before making a decision. He directs the administrations external presentation, overseeing polls, focus groups and speeches and appearing on the Sunday shows. Mr. Emanuel describes Mr. Axelrod as an integrator of the three Ps press, policy and politics and how they make a whole.
White House officials describe Mr. Axelrods focus as big themes rather than day-to-day sound bites. There has been no shortage of Democrats willing to second-guess his messaging approach.
They made a big mistake right out of the box with the Inaugural Address, said former Senator Bob Kerrey, adding that a president pledging bipartisanship should not have disparaged the previous administration in his speech, as many listeners believed Mr. Obama did.
Chris Lehane, a former top aide to Vice President Al Gore, says the administration should tell a clearer story. They have been enormously capable in dealing with the day-to-day challenges of the government, Mr. Lehane said. But they dont seem to get the credit they deserve for that because theyve communicated no overarching big idea or philosophical framework of where they want to take the country.
Others question what happened to the Mr. Axelrod who so effectively marketed Mr. Obama, the candidate, as a change agent. He and some defenders, though, say that trying to explain a president who is dealing with a fusillade of difficult governing issues is far different.
In a campaign, youre not held to the same standard of actually doing what you say youre going to do, said Anita Dunn, a former White House communications director and Obama campaign adviser. Mr. Axelrod can still sound like the self-described idealist who developed Mr. Obamas campaign message, expressing impatience with what he calls the gritty pragmatist school that says you have just got to accept the system in Washington. Im not surprised that there are people who never liked us in the first place trying to have a big I told you so about how you really cant change the system, he said.
Mr. Axelrod has never lived in Washington before and has come to loathe what he calls the palace intrigue pathology of Washington.
I know Im not cut out for this town, though he has respect for the people who work there, said Mr. Axelrod, who tries to spend one week a month with his wife, Susan, who lives in Chicago, as do two of his three children.
Mr. Axelrod is tired, but he says that is nothing new. I have dealt with a lot of real stuff in my life, he said, referring to his daughters long struggle with epilepsy, his fathers suicide and his wifes bout with breast cancer. The disapprobation of some folks in Washington doesnt seem very meaningful.
His friends still worry. I think hes getting close to a burnout kind of thing, said Sam Smith, a former Chicago Tribune sports writer, basing this not on anything Mr. Axelrod told him. Mr. Smith added that he speaks only sporadically to his friend these days, mainly about sports, and that Mr. Axelrod has always driven himself exceedingly hard.
As Mr. Obama began his term, Mr. Axelrod told him he would stay at the White House for a finite period believed to be about two years and that time frame remains unchanged. Ive learned more things in the last year than I will ever learn in my life, he said. Its just something you cant do forever, or it will kill you.

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07/24/2010 called on food companies to do more Lucky Charms. Froot Loops. Cocoa Pebbles. A ConAgr...
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07/29/2010 saying the response BATTLE CREEK, Mich. Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm ex...
07/30/2010 one of the protesters PHOENIX As the Arizona governor on Thursday form...
07/31/2010 an expert on child abuse investigation and prevention FORT A.P. HILL, Va. Her crown glinting in the mo...
08/01/2010 her new trick In this economy, even counterfeiters are trading d...
08/02/2010 at worst an act of aggression An influential Jewish organization on Friday annou...
08/03/2010 And yet her sense of wonder endures. WITH THREE EMMYS, three Oscar nominations and two ...
08/04/2010 opted to hear it Filed at 5:02 p.m. ET SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A ...
08/05/2010 set off cheers of We won! SAN FRANCISCO Saying that it discriminates again...
08/06/2010 making it hard to tell which way he is leaning Judge Vaughn R. Walker has ruled on cases involvin...
08/07/2010 an architect of It was not enough, it seems, for Alan Greenspan, t...
08/08/2010 fly back to the United States Filed at 9:12 a.m. ET PALMA DE MALLORCA, Spain (AP...
08/09/2010 The Pentagon has denounced the leaks CAMBRIDGE, Mass. He spent part of his childhood ...
08/10/2010 a retired flight attendant It has been a long time since flight attendant was...
08/11/2010 complaints of sudden acceleration DETROIT The governments investigation into comp...
08/12/2010 At least well have a little more time to prepare and dress up. SAN FRANCISCO ? Same sex marriage is legal again i...
08/13/2010 is part of the research project In 2003, a group of scientists and executives from...
08/14/2010 she also worked full time at the college's hospital It is a defining image of the American century, on...
08/15/2010 track down Dixie cups and paper plates When Emily Cooper headed off to first grade in Moo...
08/16/2010 That attempt was successful SAN FRANCISCO In all of the legal maneuvering su...
08/17/2010 Perhaps most worrisome were signs of support KABUL, Afghanistan The Taliban on Sunday ordered...
08/18/2010 This is something that needs to be paid attention to. In the 71 years since the Yankees slugger Lou Gehr...
08/19/2010 two dozen younger service members John Loosen has worn a prosthetic leg long enough ...
08/20/2010 people who have the disease cannot smile The human genome is riddled with dead genes, fossi...
08/21/2010 even by accommodating them LOS ANGELES At the New York Film Festival next m...
08/22/2010 used in medicine TEHRAN Thirty-six years after construction began...
08/23/2010 lampooned for his frequent golfing VINEYARD HAVEN, Mass. It is a paradox of America...
08/24/2010 A lot of schools are well ahead of the game SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. Secretary of Education Ar...
08/25/2010 submitting a letter revealing her lesbianism WEST POINT, N.Y. Code words, secret societies, c...
08/26/2010 revealed his sexual orientation to him Ken Mehlman, President George W. Bushs campaign m...
08/27/2010 An ambulance came moments later SAN DIEGO Fire departments around the nation are...
08/28/2010 kept him on a strict pitch count and intended to have him stop No baseball player has generated as much interest ...
08/29/2010 he talks in public about the wars only sporadically WASHINGTON President Obama rushed to the Oval Of...
08/30/2010 pay out the benefits Vickie Castros only child was killed six years ag...
08/31/2010 in a statement LAVEEN, Ariz. Dont tread on Andy C. McDonel. Th...
09/01/2010 he had never released How good is one teacher compared with another? A g...
09/02/2010 they were expanding PARIS The Swedish authorities announced Wednesda...
09/03/2010 enrollment from within FORT COLLINS, Colo. The college vote is up for g...
09/04/2010 to solicit contracts WASHINGTON Blackwater Worldwide created a web of...
09/05/2010 things really are being built on the spot where something actually happened THIS article about the new World Trade Center is a...
09/06/2010 firearm advertising SAN FRANCISCO A recent Supreme Court decision co...
09/07/2010 a tarot card reader TEMPE, Ariz. Benjamin Pearcy, a candidate for st...
09/08/2010 strenuously avoided labeling WASHINGTON President Obama on Wednesday will mak...
09/09/2010 The cartoon ignited huge protests WASHINGTON The pastor planning a burning of the K...
09/10/2010 leaders and residents For nearly every New Yorker who has received a sum...
09/11/2010 camouflage holding an American flag GAINESVILLE, Fla. Stephanie George used to see m...
09/12/2010 because White would have had an advantage Top players have healthy egos, but it takes a lot ...
09/13/2010 The situation has steadily grown PRATO, Italy Over the years, Italy learned the d...
09/14/2010 doing away with manual labor SAN FRANCISCO Businesses in the South Park distr...
09/15/2010 The survey also found a growing acceptance that genetics, rather than parenting, peers or Gods will, was responsible for sexual orientation A majority of Americans now say their definition o...
09/16/2010 An authorization bill written by the House Science Boeing said Wednesday that it was entering the spa...
09/17/2010 But others have signed up for welfare or drifted into begging and petty thievery BUCHAREST, Romania This city is full of stark, S...
09/18/2010 on the day of the anniversary Timing is everything. I had originally planned to ...
09/19/2010 about the tip of a dogs tail ST. LOUIS When judges here sentence convicted cr...
09/20/2010 like shutting down the government to get their way WASHINGTON President Obamas political advisers,...
09/21/2010 even those who emphasize alternative approaches Despite rising tuition and student-loan debt level...
09/22/2010 create a path to citizenship for certain illegal immigrants WASHINGTON The Senate on Tuesday voted against t...
09/23/2010 The Republican strategy Sometimes lost in the partisan clamor about the ne...
09/24/2010 American voters and lawmakers have only recently seized UNITED NATIONS President Obama increased pressur...
09/25/2010 farcical local politics and occasional corruption NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. Will you do the right thing...
09/26/2010 opponent into responding WASHINGTON Democratic candidates across the coun...
09/27/2010 The council members say SANTA CLARITA, Calif. A private company in Maryl...
09/28/2010 whose booming voice BROCKTON, Mass. A decade ago, Brockton High Scho...
09/29/2010 to provide continuity Rahm Emanuel is just about gone. In an interview M...
09/30/2010 day before the suicide It started with a Twitter message on Sept. 19: Ro...
10/01/2010 visual and hands-on aids like blocks, cards and bar charts FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J. By the time they get to kin...
10/02/2010 also have apps showing off their collections. Such assistance is surely welcome Walk into a crowded museum, and what do you see? P...
10/03/2010 will not back down from the mob rule mentality that has taken over this country WASHINGTON The new Supreme Court term, which beg...
10/04/2010 who lost in the primary LOUISVILLE, Ky. Rand Paul, the Tea Party-backed ...
10/05/2010 o Democratic strategists who point to improving poll numbers and fund-raising. But the fact that Mr. Obama needs to make such a concerted eff WASHINGTON With four weeks until Congressional e...
10/06/2010 learning how to mash dead bees for analysis DENVER It has been one of the great murder myste...
10/07/2010 But only a few of those are believed to be involved TRAVELERS REST, S.C. Later this month, camouflag...
10/08/2010 Publishers praise the picture book Picture books are so unpopular these days at the C...
10/09/2010 which revealed them as predators whose crimes were as cowardly as they were despicable He was told there was a party at a brick house on ...
10/10/2010 The program is also a departure from the mainstream of innovation MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. Anyone driving the twists ...
10/11/2010 But adjusted for inflation, they rose only 3 percent Heres the narrative you hear everywhere: Presiden...
10/12/2010 equal to the output of five large nuclear reactors WASHINGTON Google and a New York financial firm ...
10/13/2010 to appeal the injunction to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to try to keep it from taking effect pending an appeal A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the United Stat...
10/14/2010 at least part of the week to care for her daughters MILWAUKEE Michelle Obama burst back onto the cam...
10/15/2010 gay men and lesbians as too slow and insufficient WASHINGTON Saying it would appeal a ruling strik...
10/16/2010 even in mortal jeopardy In Waiting for Superman, the new education docum...
10/17/2010 Where I come from, we call that bait. ANAHEIM, Calif. What if you held a voter turnout...
10/18/2010 Culture is back on the poverty research For more than 40 years, social scientists investig...
10/19/2010 we had to come out under fire Middle school was the worst, Calvin Stowell says...
10/20/2010 who has ads showing him metaphorically shooting a bullet into the heart of the cap-and-trade bill Rage is not working out. In Delaware, the Republ...
10/21/2010 a gang of homeless street boys Inhale, a shrill, feverish melodrama about illic...
10/22/2010 the law should be overturned WASHINGTON In the growing legal confusion at the...
10/23/2010 the crash rate is three times higher BOULDER CITY, Nev. It is an engineering marvel a...
10/24/2010 the straight-ahead hope and possibility SEATTLE President Obama walked the campaign stag...
10/25/2010 Thats how you build respect WASHINGTON It took President Obama 18 months to ...
10/26/2010 Harassment does not have to include intent to harm In a 10-page letter to be sent on Tuesday to thous...
10/27/2010 Maybe its hard to come to an agreement now, in front of an audience LONG BEACH, Calif. With less than a week until E...
10/28/2010 a psychotherapist and Hickenlooper IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo. In his appearances around t...
10/29/2010 and has offered little description of what is planned Jon Stewart insists that his Rally to Restore San...
10/30/2010 to root out violent extremism in all its forms WASHINGTON Officials searched for suspicious pac...
10/31/2010 and fears about packages yet to be discovered WASHINGTON The powerful bombs concealed inside c...
11/01/2010 In nondescript towns MIAMI Two years ago, the University of Miami cou...
11/02/2010 Sarah Palin, who has stumped BECKLEY, W. Va. Bill Clinton and Michelle Obama,...
11/03/2010 bombs might be on cargo flights WASHINGTON American intelligence officials in Se...
11/04/2010 month with contentious issues WASHINGTON President Obama and newly empowered R...
11/05/2010 inherent conflicts WASHINGTON The incoming leadership of the new Ho...
11/06/2010 have harsher side effects WARWICK, R.I. Theyve been telling me since age...
11/07/2010 nation-building in Afghanistan and education reform at home W. never sweated the small stuff. Unfortunately,...
11/08/2010 International concerns LONDON When interest rates soared last week on I...
11/09/2010 equated the move to currency manipulation NEW DELHI By endorsing India for a permanent sea...
11/10/2010 Rents drop SANTA ANA, Calif. A temporary wall slices the An...
11/11/2010 It lays out options WASHINGTON The chairmen of President Obamas bip...
11/12/2010 are increasingly uncertain WASHINGTON By putting deep spending cuts and sub...
11/13/2010 the right to life, liberty and security WINNIPEG, Manitoba As waves of immigrants from t...
11/14/2010 much faster erosion TASIILAQ, Greenland With a tense pilot gripping ...
11/15/2010 resembled the contrails Gil Leyvas has been a photojournalist on board a t...
11/16/2010 started to cover their own turf When Sam Keller, a former quarterback at Arizona S...
11/17/2010 proved crucial to the function After 16 years and $1.5 billion of other peoples ...
11/18/2010 the effect of increasing LOS ANGELES Five weeks after the Legislature pas...
11/19/2010 just like any other run-of-the-mill stray FLORENCE, Ariz. When a suicide bomber entered an...
11/20/2010 removing the glare from eyeglasses Oliver Tracy showed up for his first-grade portrai...
11/21/2010 dismantled as part of an agreement WASHINGTON North Korea showed a visiting America...
11/22/2010 accelerated their use Caught between complaints that airport screening h...
11/23/2010 the war is still to be fought DUBLIN Ireland has formally applied for a rescue...
11/24/2010 will accelerate the prevention revolution Healthy gay men who took an anti-AIDS pill every d...
11/25/2010 three-week trial AUSTIN, Tex. Tom DeLay, one of the most powerful...
11/26/2010 amid the citys fervent embrace of the automobile LOS ANGELES This auto-obsessed city a place wh...
11/27/2010 a tighter stitch and results in a smaller scar WASHINGTON President Obama had to get 12 stitche...
11/28/2010 I thought he was lying Devon Armstrong and Winifred Oldham do not hear th...
11/29/2010 Pentagon, which is the nations single largest employer WASHINGTON Francis Brady enjoys a six-figure sal...
11/30/2010 ce, it feels like a betrayal to our sense of how nature should work. Shouldnt they know better? Or, perha Cerise Mayo expected better of her bees. She had r...
12/01/2010 try to develop profiles of possible terrorists WASHINGTON Nearly a decade after the 2001 terror...
12/02/2010 recasting weight-loss procedures Weight-loss surgery, once a last resort for extrem...
12/03/2010 more competition from emerging rivals LISBON Sara Vale Lima, sales manager at Eical, a...
12/04/2010 boiling down all they do PRINCETON, N.J. In most American schools, teache...
12/05/2010 stumbling through an evolving etiquette Ninth grade was supposed to be a fresh start for M...
12/06/2010 highest unemployment rates in the state SAN FRANCISCO It has been more than two years si...
12/07/2010 getting security clearances or promotions The government warns Americans to closely guard th...
12/08/2010 used the lunch meeting to emphasize provisions WASHINGTON President Obama on Tuesday strongly d...
12/09/2010 raising fears that they and other sources would become more reticent LONDON In a campaign that had some declaring the...
12/10/2010 hoping for a little less caution Christmas will no longer be on credit for many sho...
12/11/2010 if LONDON The British police promised an investigat...
12/12/2010 seeking assets for victims of the scheme Mark Madoff, the older of Bernard L. Madoffs two ...
12/13/2010 departments as unconstitutional WASHINGTON As virtually all of Washington was de...
12/14/2010 30 million people who are uninsured A federal judge in Virginia ruled on Monday that t...
12/15/2010 tried in vain The Dodgers and the Giants did it. Johnny Carson d...
12/16/2010 Some Democrats said they had concluded WASHINGTON The Senate on Wednesday approved the ...
12/17/2010 to reconvene after the holiday WASHINGTON Embattled and left for near dead last...
12/18/2010 The fact that Bob hated Christmas BOB liked to say how much he hated Christmas. This...
12/19/2010 well with my little daughter The sun had barely committed to its Saturday morni...
12/20/2010 Modern medicine has produced new diagnostic tools Marjie Popkin thought she had chemo brain, that fu...
12/21/2010 Such visits peaked in November 2009 and have since slid SAN FRANCISCO Signs youre an old fogey: You sti...
12/22/2010 noting her use of a single name KANSAS CITY, Mo. Christmas hasnt come yet but H...
12/23/2010 The show had more than two months of technical rehearsals The Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dar...
12/24/2010 shes here, you just feel it CHAMPION, Wis. In France, the shrine at Lourdes ...
12/25/2010 You leapfrog over the need for fixed lines, KIPTUSURI, Kenya For Sara Ruto, the desperate ye...
12/26/2010 to the need to protect expensive items like new cellphones The citizens of Lincolnshire, England, were so fed...
12/27/2010 They say, We were only playing with you last time, HARARE, Zimbabwe The warning signs are prolifera...
12/28/2010 director of state affairs for the Michigan Municipal League HAMTRAMCK, Mich. Leaders of this city met for mo...
12/29/2010 who had not previously been homeless FORT PIERCE, Fla. For the three generations of t...
12/30/2010 Paul Simon sang in his 1973 hit Kodachrome, PARSONS, Kan. An unlikely pilgrimage is under wa...
12/31/2010 Officials are not seeking a major confrontation WASHINGTON With the federal government set to re...
(c) 2014 Dan Nelson