Obama's White House Staff: A Bunch of Wild and Crazy Guys

It's no surprise that a liberal newspaper would find cultural affinity with the staff of a liberal presidential administration, and Ashley Parker filed another affectionate profile of the Obama White House staff, "And Now, Starring in the West Wing: Ax & Lesser," for the Sunday Styles page. It celebrated the comic stylings of David Axelrod, Obama's advisor, and Axelrod's special assistant Eric Lesser, who are apparently a real Abbott and Costello act(though you wouldn't know it from the anecdotes provided).

David Axelrod was on the lam.

He ducked into Jon Favreau's West Wing speechwriting office, checking to make sure that Mr. Favreau hadn't seen Eric Lesser, Mr. Axelrod's special assistant. He left, and moments later Mr. Lesser came bounding in, demanding: "Where's Ax? What's he doing? He's hiding from me!"

Laughing, Mr. Favreau said, "Their comedic timing is perfect."

Like many fresh administrations, the Obama White House is full of closely watched relationships - Barack and Michelle Obama, Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers, Bo and the Obama girls. But none is more amusing than the unlikely duo of Mr. Axelrod, the president's 54-year-old chief adviser, and his 24-year-old assistant, Mr. Lesser. Indeed, just the mention of "Ax and Lesser" elicits laughter at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

"They are like an old married couple," said Katie Johnson, Mr. Obama's personal secretary.

One can hardly picture the Times spreading affectionate anecdotes about Bush advisor Karl Rove palling around the White House.

In April Parker wrote a syrupy profile of Mike Kelleher, director of the Office of Correspondence at the White House, who reads letters sent to the White House and passes 10 a day on to Obama, some of which make the president cry.