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David J. Frum
David Frum.jpg
Born June 30, 1960 (1960-06-30) (age 49)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Education University of Toronto Schools (1978)
Yale University (1982)
Harvard Law School (1987)
Occupation Journalist, author, political speechwriter
Family son of Barbara Frum and Murray Frum
Spouse(s) Danielle Crittenden

David J. Frum (born June 30, 1960) is a Canadian American conservative journalist active in both the United States and Canadian political arenas. A former economic speechwriter for President George W. Bush, he is also the author of the first "insider" book about the Bush presidency. His editorial columns have appeared in a variety of Canadian and American magazines and newspapers, including the National Post and The Week.[1] He is also the founder of (formerly, a political group blog.



Born to a Jewish family in Toronto, Ontario, Canada[2] on 30 June 1960, Frum is the son of the late Barbara Frum, a well-known veteran journalist. His father, Murray Frum, a philanthropist and major art collector, was a dentist who left his practice in 1971 to concentrate on his business as a real estate developer. David Frum's sister, Linda Frum is a member of the Canadian Senate. David Frum is married to writer Danielle Crittenden, the stepdaughter of former Toronto Sun editor Peter Worthington.

At age 14 he was a campaign volunteer for a New Democratic Party candidate, taking an hour-long bus/subway/bus ride each way to and from the campaign office in western Toronto. He would read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago, a paperback edition his mother had given him. "My campaign colleagues jeered at the book — and by the end of the campaign, any lingering interest I might have had in the political left had vanished like yesterday’s smoke."[3]

He graduated from the University of Toronto Schools in 1978 where he was the School Captain. He then attended Yale University in 1982 where he earned a simultaneous Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in History. While at Yale he was in the Directed Studies program, a type of "Great Books" course.[4] He went on to Harvard Law School, and received his Juris Doctor (J.D.) in 1987. Frum has described one of his study methods while at law school:

When I was in law school, I devised my own idiosyncratic solution to the problem of studying a topic I knew nothing about. I'd wander into the library stacks, head to the relevant section, and pluck a book at random. I'd flip to the footnotes, and write down the books that seemed to occur most often. Then I'd pull them off the shelves, read their footnotes, and look at those books. It usually took only 2 or 3 rounds of this exercise before I had a pretty fair idea of who were the leading authorities in the field. After reading 3 or 4 of those books, I usually had at least enough orientation in the subject to understand what the main questions at issue were — and to seek my own answers, always provisional, always subject to new understanding, always requiring new reading and new thinking.[4]

He served as an editor on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal from 1989 until 1992, and then as a columnist for Forbes magazine in 1992-94. From 1994 through 2000 he was a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Public Policy Research.

Following the election of George W. Bush in 2000, Frum was appointed to a position within the White House. Still a Canadian citizen, he was one of the few foreign nationals working within the Bush White House. (According to Frum, he was once briefly arrested by a White House security guard who didn't believe that a Canadian national could have a job working at the White House.[5]) He served as Special Assistant to the U.S. President for Economic Speechwriting from January 2001 to February 2002. He filed for naturalization and took the oath for citizenship on September 11, 2007.[6]

Frum strongly supported John Roberts, George W. Bush's nominee for Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. However, like many conservatives, he opposed the nomination of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court, on the grounds that she was insufficiently qualified for the post, as well as insufficiently conservative.

David Frum is now a resident fellow of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, as well as the Fraser Institute, a Canadian libertarian think tank. He is on the board of directors of the Republican Jewish Coalition.[7] On October 11, 2007, Frum announced on his blog that he was joining Rudolph Giuliani's presidential campaign as a senior foreign policy adviser.[8][9]

On November 16, 2008, The New York Times reported that David Frum would be leaving National Review where he was a contributing editor and ran an online blog.[10] Frum announced to readers of his blog that he would be starting a new political website, He described it as "a group blog, featuring many different voices. Not all of them… conservatives or Republicans." He added that he hoped the site would "create an online community that will be exciting and appealing to younger readers, a generation often repelled by today's mainstream conservatism."[11] The website was launched on January 19, 2009.[12] David Frum's website changed to on October 31, 2009.


His first book, Dead Right, was released in 1994. Frank Rich of the New York Times described it as "the smartest book written from the inside about the American conservative movement" and William F. Buckley, Jr. found it "the most refreshing ideological experience in a generation."[13] He is also the author of What's Right (1996) and How We Got Here (2000), a history of the 1970s. Michael Barone of U.S. News & World Report praised How We Got Here, noting that "more than any other book… it shows how we came to be the way we are." John Podhoretz described it as "compulsively readable" and a "commanding amalgam of history, sociology and polemic."[14]

In January 2003, he released The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush, the first insider account of the Bush presidency. Frum is widely cited as having authored the phrase "axis of evil," which he discusses in his book.[15] As the title suggests, Frum also discusses how the events of September 11, 2001 redefined the country and the President. Frum writes, "George W. Bush was hardly the obvious man for the job. But by a very strange fate, he turned out to be, of all unlikely things, the right man."

Frum's book, An End to Evil, was co-written with Richard Perle. It provided a defense of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and advocated regime change in Iran and Syria. Furthermore, it called for a tougher policy with North Korea, as well as advocating a tougher U.S. stance against Saudi Arabia and other Islamic nations in order to "win the war on terror" (the book's by-line).

In 2008, he published Comeback: Conservatism That Can Win Again, a work which former Congressman David M. McIntosh called "required reading for all GOP candidates."

Frum writes a weekly column for Canada's National Post newspaper and The Week news magazine. He is also a commentator for American Public Media's "Marketplace." His writings appear frequently in the New York Times, Italy's Il Foglio, and the Daily Telegraph.

Frum was a supporter of John McCain in the 2008 Presidential election, writing "I vote for John McCain"[16]. In an article for National Review Online he posted days before the 2008 election, he gave ten reasons why he was going to vote for McCain and against Obama[16] Frum had previously been a vocal critic of Republican presidential candidate John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate on the ground that Palin was unqualified to assume the presidency. Speaking of Palin's performance during the campaign, Frum stated, "I think she has pretty thoroughly—and probably irretrievably—proven that she is not up to the job of being president of the United States." [17] Nevertheless he ultimately stated his support for Palin, writing "But on Tuesday, I will trust that she can learn. She has governed a state - and ... it says something important that so many millions of people respond to her as somebody who incarnates their beliefs and values. At a time when the great American middle often seems to be falling further and further behind, there may be a special need for a national leader who represents and symbolizes that middle."[16]

On August 14, 2009 on Bill Moyers Journal, Frum challenged certain Republican political tactics in opposing healthcare and other Democratic initiatives as "outrageous," "dangerous" and ineffective.[18]

Non-political views and interests

Frum has written in his blog that he enjoys reading history (among his favorite historical figures are Alexander Hamilton and Abraham Lincoln), particularly histories of the American Civil War (he has also visited Civil War battlefields[19]). In fiction, "Marcel Proust is my all-time favorite novelist, the one I could read and re-read endlessly."[4]


  • Frum, David (2008). Comeback: Conservatism that can win again (1st ed.). New York: Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-385-51533-7.  
  • An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror (with Richard Perle), 2004 (ISBN 1-4000-6194-6)
  • The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush, 2003 (ISBN 0-375-50903-8)
  • How We Got Here: The 70's: The Decade That Brought You Modern Life—For Better or Worse, 2000 (ISBN 0-465-04196-5)
  • What's Right: The New Conservative Majority and the Remaking of America, 1997 (ISBN 0-465-04198-1)
  • Dead Right, 1994 (ISBN 0-465-09825-8)
  • Ghostwriter for Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else ("I ghostwrote it, but the research & concepts are all his," Frum has written.)[4]


  1. ^ David Frum: Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute website, 2005
  2. ^ Harry Kreisler, "Conversation with David Frum" at Conversations with History, Institute of International Studies, University of California, Berkeley (retrieved June 30, 2009).
  3. ^ [1]Frum, David, "Campaigns Past", posting ("untranslated" from his Il Foglio column) at David Frum's Diary blog at National Review Online Web site, October 30, 2007, accessed January 3, 2008
  4. ^ a b c d [2]Frum, David, "David's Bookshelf Year End", posting at David Frum's Diary blog at National Review Online Web site, January 1, 2008, accessed January 3, 2008
  5. ^ "Frum Toronto to Washington" at UJA Federation of Greater Washington website (retrieved June 30, 2009).
  6. ^ NYTimes Magazine interview
  7. ^ David Frum, Board of Directors at Republican Jewish Coalition website (retrieved June 30, 2009).
  8. ^ David Frum, "Rudy & Me," post at David Frum's Diary blog
  9. ^ Disclosure at the end of "Make speech free, and all else follows", published in the National Post on October 20, 2007.
  10. ^ [3] Arango, Tim. At National Review, a Threat to Its Reputation for Erudition. The New York Times, November 16, 2008
  11. ^ [4] Frum, David. A Note to Readers. David Frum's Diary, November 18, 2008.
  12. ^ ."Welcome to". Retrieved 2009-02-19.  
  13. ^ Frum, David. Dead Right. New York: Basic Books, 1995.
  14. ^ Frum, David. How We Got Here: The 70's, The Decade That Brought You Modern Life- For Better or Worse. New York: Basic Books, 2000.
  15. ^ "David Frum Biography". Keppler Speakers.  
  16. ^ a b c David Frum (November 1, 2008). "For John McCain". National Review Online. Retrieved 2009-08-20.  
  17. ^ Adam Nagourney (September 30, 2008). "Concerns About Palin's Readiness as Big Test Nears". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-30.  
  18. ^ "Bill Moyers Journal." August 14, 2009. Retrieved on August 15, 2009.
  19. ^ [5]Frum, David, "David's Bookshelf 50" post at David Frum's Diary blog at National Review Online Web site, October 27, 2007, accessed January 3, 2007

External links




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