Phones They are A-Ringin’

Jeff Zeleny’s work-in-progress buddy-picture screenplay, working title “Bam and Ax Take Washington,” opens with a phone call.

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…

According to Zeleny’s account, Obama and his chief strategist David Axelrod are more than a candidate and his political guru. They’re friends. They share a worldview. They enjoy midnight phone calls. They make jokes. They balance each other out.

Yeesh. As if the Times had nothing better to do than devote a half-page to the Axelrod-Obama saga, complete with a photo of the dynamic duo on the bus, doing what else, but working their phones.

And of course, the piece wouldn’t be complete without a phone-related kicker:

Told that “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” rings on Mr. Axelrod’s phone, a song that also plays at each campaign rally, Mr. Obama smiled. “Really?” he said. “I didn’t know that.”

When Mr. Axelrod calls him, the senator’s phone is set on vibrate.


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Katia Bachko is on staff at The New Yorker.