Obama Strategist Reveals the Real Story Behind ‘Yes We Can!’

Obama was ready to ditch the famous tagline in 2008...

Yes_We_Can_SpeechBack in August 2008, a young up-and-comer from Illinois made history when he accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination to run for the White House. Swollen with pride and purpose, the novice Senator (and veteran orator) adopted the now-famous campaign slogan “Yes we can!”

Can you blame him, really?

The mad scientist behind that campaign was David Axelrod, who served as chief strategist and senior adviser to both Obama and Joe Biden for six years. Today, he’s enjoying the bounties of a book tour promoting his memoir Believer: My 40 Years in Politics.

Axelrod’s media campaign has even allowed the public to see a bit more of the man behind the curtain. For example, in an interview with Amy Chozick of The New York Times he reveals the tagline’s TRUE champion…

It was Michelle.

michelle-obama-rosie-the-riveterDuring his campaign for the U.S. Senate, Obama thought that your famous “Yes we can” line was corny. How did you convince him?

Michelle just happened to come by for the first ad shoot, and that was the ad that closed with the line “Yes we can.” He read through the script once, and after the first take he said, “Gee, is that too corny?” I explained why I thought it was a great tagline, and he turned to Michelle and said, “What do you think?” She just slowly shook her head from side to side and said, “Not corny.” Thank God she was there that day.

You know what they say: “Behind every great man there’s a great woman”…and behind both of them there’s an army of messaging experts and PR professionals.

Still, there’s something to be said for listening to your most important influencer…