"Jon Favreau, the president’s chief speechwriter, said there was a familiar refrain during these meetings, with Mr. Axelrod urging the team not to become consumed by the insularity of Washington. 'Can I speak on behalf of the American people here?' he said Mr. Axelrod often asks aloud. That is precisely why, Mr. Axelrod said, he convened the Wednesday Night Meetings: to keep the pulse of what people were thinking. Locked in the White House all day, he added, he can no longer hear those voices on his own.
[T]he Wednesday night meetings suggest that the strong belief in polling and focus groups from the campaign are alive in the White House. Joel Benenson, a pollster for Mr. Obama, is among the participants in the sessions. He said that Mr. Axelrod often asked one question above all: 'How do we make sure that the arguments from the president’s agenda are made in the most persuasive way?'
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