Oct. 21: Conversation with Obama strategist David Plouffe set in Mitchell Hall
David Plouffe visited the campus in the spring to discuss the 2008 presidential election.
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10:24 a.m., Oct. 16, 2009----A conversation with David Plouffe, campaign manager for Obama's presidential campaign and a UD alumnus, will be held at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 21, at the University of Delaware's Mitchell Hall.

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Plouffe will chat with students Antonia Borelli and Ashley Biro and with Ralph Begleiter, UD's Edward and Elizabeth Goodman Rosenberg Professor of Communication and Distinguished Journalist in Residence, as part of the fall public affairs lecture series, “Assessing Obama's First Year.”

Plouffe was a key leader in the Democratic campaign of President Barack Obama. He attended UD from fall 1985 through fall 1988, majoring in political science.

His first foray into on-the-ground politics came in 1988, the summer of his junior year at UD, as a field organizer for businessman Sam Beard in Beard's unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination for a U.S. Senate seat from Delaware. Plouffe went on to work for Sen. Tom Harkin's 1990 re-election campaign and 1992 presidential run and on the successful 1996 Senate campaign for Bob Torricelli in New Jersey. He was deputy chief of staff for the House Democratic leader, Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri, in 1997-98.

By 1999, Plouffe was executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which funded House races across the country with a record $95 million. He joined the Democratic media consulting firm then known as Axelrod Associates in 2000 and in 2004 became a named partner of the firm, now called AKP&D Message and Media.

He has said he believed from the start that Obama had what it took to be president but that at the time he didn't think the first-term senator would decide to run as early as 2008. He steered the candidate through the hard-fought primaries and then the general election contest.

This lecture series, “Assessing Obama's First Year,” celebrates UD's position at the epicenter of politics during the fall 2008 presidential election and builds on successful election events on campus, including an earlier lecture series and an Election Night program that drew a large crowd to the Trabant University Center.

A Bloomberg news service reporter wrote that UD was at the epicenter of the 2008 election, with the Democrats represented by David Plouffe and Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden and the Republicans by Steve Schmidt, a senior adviser to John McCain. All attended UD. Biden made a late campaign stop on campus last fall, and Plouffe and Schmidt returned for a lively discussion across the aisle in April.

The series is sponsored by the departments of Communication and Political Science and International Relations, the Office of the Provost, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy.

Other national speakers in the series include David Axelrod, senior adviser to President Barack Obama, who spoke Oct. 7, and Ed Gillespie, former chairperson of the Republican National Committee and White House adviser to George W. Bush, who will be speaking later this fall.

Photo by Kathy F. Atkinson