2014-2015 Speakers


David Axelrod


Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama, and Senior Strategist to Barack Obama's Presidential Campaigns

February 5, 2015
7 p.m.


David Axelrod served as senior advisor to President Barack Obama, senior advisor to the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition, senior strategist to Barack Obama's historic campaign for the presidency in 2008 and his 2012 re-election campaign. Today he serves as the director, Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago and is a senior political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. He was recently inducted into The American Association of Political Consultants’ Hall of Fame. During his time at the White House, Axelrod was the Administration's most frequent presence on the influential Sunday talk shows including NBC’s Meet the Press, ABC’s This Week, CBS’s Face the Nation, FOX News Sunday and CNN’s State of the Union. He also appeared several times on The Tonight Show, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Late Show with David Letterman just to name a few.

From 1988 to 2008, Axelrod was the founder and senior partner at the consulting firm AKPD Message and Media, based in Chicago. In that capacity, he managed media strategy and communications for more than 150 local, state and national campaigns, with a focus on progressive candidates and causes.

In 2006, Axelrod ran the independent expenditure media program for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, helping Democrats regain the majority in the House of Representatives. That same year, Axelrod served as media adviser to Deval Patrick, who was elected Massachusetts's first Democratic governor in 16 years and the state's first-ever African American governor. In 2004, when President Obama was a member of the Illinois State Senate, Axelrod helped him defeat a primary field of six other Democrats and go on to a landslide win in his U.S. Senate campaign. Before entering politics in 1984, Axelrod spent eight years as a reporter for The Chicago Tribune, where he covered national, state and local politics. In 1981, he became the youngest political writer and columnist in the paper's history. He also served as the Tribune's City Hall bureau chief.

Active in charitable work in Chicago, Axelrod has supported Special Olympics and Misericordia. In 1998, he and his wife, Susan, helped found Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE), which has raised over $26 million so far for scientists searching for a cure.

Axelrod was born in New York City, and graduated from Stuyvesant High School and the University of Chicago. He served as an Adjunct Professor of Communication Studies at Northwestern University and has lectured on political media at Harvard University, the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania. He is married to Susan Landau and has three children, Lauren, Michael and Ethan.


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