‘NYT’ SUNDAY PREVIEW: Profile of Obama’s Consultant David Axelrod

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By: E&P Staff

This coming Sunday’s New York Times Magazine offers a lengthy profile of David Axelrod, “the king of Chicago political consultants” who “has spent the past 15 years learning, recording and shaping Barack Obama’s life story.”

It details how Axelrod left his job as chief political writer for The Chicago Tribune in 1984 and examines his work since then on behalf of candidates Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Rahm Emanuel and now as “chief strategist” for Obama. The Times piece states he “is known for operating” in a “gray area, part idealist, part hired muscle.”

It says that after the Democrats’ failures in the two most recent presidential contests he “has become perhaps the consultant with the tightest grip on his party’s future.” The GOP consultant Mike Murphy tells Times writer Ben Wallace-Wells that Axelrod is “very, very dangerous” because instead of “fighting the last war,” Axelrod is fighting the next one.

In fact, Axelrod claims that Obama is a “trailblazing” figure who
“represents the future.” He says his model for the Obama campaign is the winning effort last fall by Deval Patrick in Massachusetts.

Axelrod’s journalism roots go deep. His mother worked for the left-wing newspaper PM in New York City in the 1940s.

He was chief media adviser to Sen. John Edwards’ race for president in 2004. One rival Democratic consultant asks the Times, “What I’d like to know about David Axelrod is, What the hell happened with the Edwards campaign?”

Now, what does Axelrod think of the notorious YouTube pro-Obama “Hillary 1984” video? The Times says it made him “cranky,” and he says, “I didn’t think much of it.”

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