David Axelrod is a grizzled veteran of American politics, first covering it as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune and then working campaigns for Richard Daley, Deval Patrick, John Edwards—and, most famously, to a young Illinois Senator named Barack Obama, who later became President of the United States. Axelrod reflects on his experience in public life in his new memoir, "Believer: My Forty Years In Politics." 

Highlights from the interview include:  

On his first impression of Barack Obama:  

This was in 1992. A friend of mine said, "I want you to meet this remarkable young man. I said, "why?" She said: "I think he could become the first black president of the United States." I always joke, I take this woman to the track with me now whenever I go.

I went to meet him. As I said in the book, I didn't walk away humming 'Hail to the Chief," but I was really impressed by him. He had come from Harvard Law School, where he was present of the Law Review, and instead of taking the sort of gold-plated offers that were coming in by the boatload for him, he went back there to run a voter registration drive, to work at a small civil rights firm. He seemed like a guy who really believed that politics and public service were an venue to do things and not just to be somebody. 

What happens when he gets a phone call from the White House:

It's almost never him. It's always a White House operator, and they always say, "Do you have a minute for the President?" I asked him once: does anyone every say no? He said: "Just John Boehner."

On what it's like to be friends with the President: 

My wife said something, she was interviewed about this book and someone asked about my relationship with him. She said: "They're kind of like old school friends. It takes about a minute and then everything is like it always is." That's how it is.

He was first my friend. We've been through a lot together. We have a very easy relationship. One of the hard adjustments I had to make when I left the White House in 2011, was I had been in constant touch with him, I was at his side, we'd talk on the phone several times a day for years. Now all of a sudden it was like radio silence. That was a hard adjustment for me to make, because we are friends.

On how President Obama relaxes:   

.@davidaxelrod on how President Obama lets off steam. "He chews a lot of Nicorette."

To hear more from David Axelrod, tune in to Boston Public Radio above.