Presidential adviser David Axelrod to appear Oct. 7
David Axelrod
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Editor's Note: The talk with David Axelrod will be Web cast live at

3:14 p.m., Sept. 24, 2009----David Axelrod, senior adviser to President Barack Obama, will appear at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 7, at the University of Delaware's Mitchell Hall.

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The presentation, in which Axelrod will speak briefly and then engage in a conversation with Ralph Begleiter, UD's Edward and Elizabeth Goodman Rosenberg Professor of Communication and Distinguished Journalist in Residence, is part of the fall public affairs lecture series, “Assessing Obama's First Year.”

Before joining the Obama administration, Axelrod served as senior adviser to the Obama-Biden presidential transition and senior strategist to Obama's campaign for the presidency.

From 1988 until 2009, Axelrod was senior partner at the consulting firm AKP&D 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 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 more than $9 million so far for scientists searching for a cure.

Axelrod was born in New York City in 1955, 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.

The fall lecture series 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.

In addition to Axelrod, other national speakers in the series include Plouffe, who played a central role in the Obama campaign, speaking Oct. 21 on “Lessons from a Presidential Campaign,” and Ed Gillespie, former chairperson of the Republican National Committee and White House adviser to George W. Bush, speaking on Nov. 18 on “The Future of the Republican Party.”