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President Barack Obama's top advisor, David Axelrod Visits NHIOP

September 27, 2011

Story by: Barbara LeBlanc and Laurie Morrissey
College Communications and Marketing

President Barack Obama's top advisor, David Axelrod, visited the New Hampshire Institute of Politics Tuesday, appearing at a public breakfast event, talking with the media, and meeting with students to have an open dialogue about the state of politics.

The president's advisor and spokesman addressed a large local audience at the "Politics and Eggs" series in the NHIOP auditorium. His talk centered on the country's economic challenges and the political process, noting that the people of New Hampshire have a unique opportunity to meet and evaluate the presidential candidates' ideas, character, and record.

"It begins here. New Hampshire citizens will put them through their paces," he said. He also praised the college and the NHIOP for the part it plays in instilling the values of civic responsibility in its students: "I look forward to the leadership the young people here will provide in years to come."

Student Q&A

David AlexrodStudents spent 45 minutes picking the brain of Democratic political strategist David Axelrod at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. Axelrod, a former senior aide and current campaign advisor to President Obama, answered questions about the Tea Party, the differences between Democrats and Republicans, election strategy and what drew him to Obama.

He also urged the audience of about 35 students to get involved in political and civic life, no matter what issues they care about most. "You can't be passive players," he said. "You have the ability to influence the future of your country. The future is not going to present itself to you, you have to achieve it."

Axelrod's own interest in politics started when he was just five years old. "You can fill in the appropriate nerd joke," he said. Then Sen. John F. Kennedy was visiting New York City, where Axelrod grew up, and a neighbor took the young boy to see him. "I still retain the sense of excitement and idealism about this system that I had when I was five years old sitting on a mailbox," waiting for JFK to pass by, he said.

He said he first met the president in 1992 when someone Axelrod knew predicted that Barack Obama could become the first black president. Ten years later, he led the campaign that won Obama his U.S. Senate seat and later the Oval office.

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