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[casi] For your attention

Bert Gedin spotted this on the Guardian Unlimited site and thought you should see it.

Note from Bert Gedin:

Greetings frum Bert Gedin, B'ham, uk.

To see this story with its related links on the Guardian Unlimited site, go to

Proud wife turns 'axis of evil' speech into a resignation letter
Matthew Engel  in Washington
Tuesday February 26 2002
The Guardian

The public had a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the White House yesterday when David Frum, 
the man said to have invented the phrase "axis of evil", resigned from President George Bush's 
speechwriting team, causing a debate as to whether he walked out or was pushed.

Mr Frum became well known after President Bush used the term in his state of the union address. But 
his celebrity came about only because his wife, Danielle, emailed friends with "wifely pride" to 
claim credit for her husband. The message was picked up by the media.

This was considered an affront to the discreet and collegiate traditions of the speechwriters' 
room, whose occupants are accustomed to having their precious words appropriated by the president, 
rewritten or scrapped, but are expected to remain stoically anonymous.

The Frumgate affair erupted when the commentator Robert Novak claimed on CNN that the president was 
so infuriated by the emails that Mr Frum was fired. This was denied by the White House and Mr Frum, 
who accused Mr Novak of "making stuff up" and said he had given a month's notice on January 24, 
while the speech was being written.

In her email to friends and family, Mrs Frum wrote: "I realise this is very 'Washington' of me to 
mention but my husband is responsible for the axis of evil segment in Tuesday's state of the union 
address. It's not often a phrase one writes   gains national notice... so I hope you'll indulge my 
wifely pride in seeing this one repeated in headlines everywhere!"

Presidents have a core team of four or five writers working on their speeches. Like most White 
House staffers, they rarely last through the length of a presidency, although Mr Bush has only been 
in office 13 months and Mr Frum is one of the first senior figures to go.

"What you get is the excitement of being at the centre,"   said a team member from a past 
administration, who asked, in keeping with the tradition, for anonymity.

"You're playing with history. But the job really takes it out of you. You break a lot of promises 
to your kids.

"And there are a lot of frustrations. Once a speech is made, it's supposed to be the president's, 
not yours.

"The current team does a lot of collegial writing, and they're very good at it. That takes a strong 
bond and very special people."

Mr Frum intends to return to more conventional writing under his own name. He has already published 
two critiques of conservative politics and a history of the 1970s. His new-found fame is unlikely 
to do him any harm with publishers contemplating contracts.

Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited

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