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Believer: My Forty Years in Politics

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Date and time
Friday, February 13, 2015

**David Axelrod** has always been a believer. Whether as a young journalist investigating city corruption, a campaign consultant guiding underdog candidates against entrenched orthodoxy, or as senior adviser to the president during one of the worst crises in American history, Axelrod held fast to his faith in the power of stories to unite diverse communities and ignite transformative political change. Now this legendary strategist, the mastermind behind Barack Obama’s historic election campaigns, shares a wealth of stories from his forty-year journey through the inner workings of American democracy. Believer is the tale of a political life well lived, of a man who never gave up on the deepest promises our country has to offer. The heart of _Believer_ is Axelrod’s twenty-year friendship with Barack Obama, a warm partnership that inspired both men even as it propelled each to great heights. Taking a chance on an unlikely candidate for the U.S. Senate, Axelrod ultimately collaborated closely with Obama on his political campaigns, and served as the invaluable strategist who contributed to the tremendous victories of 2008 and 2012. Switching careers again, Axelrod served as senior adviser to the president during one of the most challenging periods in national history: working at Obama’s side as he battled an economic disaster; navigated America through two wars; and fought to reform health care, the financial sector, and our gridlocked political institutions. In _Believer_, Axelrod offers a deeper and richer profile of this extraordinary figure—who in just six years vaulted from the Illinois State Senate to the Oval Office—from the perspective of one who was at his side every step of the way.

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David Axelrod is senior advisor to President Barack H. Obama. Prior to that, he served as senior advisor to the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition and Senior Strategist to Barack Obama's campaign for the presidency. Since 1988, Axelrod has been 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 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 US Senate campaign.
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Commentator, editor, teacher, public servant, best-selling author and adviser to presidents for 30 years, David Gergen has been an active participant in American national life. He served as director of communications for President Reagan and held positions in the administrations of Presidents Nixon and Ford. David Gergen is a professor of public service and the director of the Center for Public Leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is also editor-at-large at *U.S. News & World Report* and is a Senior Political Analyst for CNN. Mr. Gergen also regularly serves as an analyst on radio shows, and he is a frequent lecturer at venues around the world. In the fall of 2000 he published a best-selling book titled, *Eyewitness to Power: The Essence of Leadership, Nixon to Clinton*. A native of Durham, North Carolina, Mr. Gergen is an honors graduate of Yale University (A.B., 1963) and the Harvard Law School (JD, 1967). He is a member of the D.C. bar. In addition, Mr. Gergen served for three-and-a-half years in the U.S. Navy, where he was posted for about two years to a ship home-ported in Japan. Mr. Gergen is active on many boards, including Duke University and Teach for America. He frequently lectures here in the United States and overseas and holds 17 honorary degrees.
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