10 Things You Didn't Know About David Axelrod

President-elect Barack Obama named Axelrod senior adviser to the president.

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1. David Axelrod was born in New York's Lower East Side in 1955. His mother, Myril, was a journalist for the left-oriented 1940s magazine PM , and his father, Joseph, was a ballplayer turned psychologist.

2. As a youth, Axelrod was fascinated with the Kennedys. When he was 5, he sat perched atop a mailbox near his family's apartment and watched John F. Kennedy speak at a political rally; when he was 13, he volunteered with Robert F. Kennedy's presidential campaign.

3. He graduated from Stuyvesant High School in New York in 1972—three years after Eric Holder, Barack Obama's choice for attorney general, graduated from the school.

4. After graduating from the University of Chicago, where he studied political science, Axelrod spent nearly eight years as a political reporter for the Chicago Tribune . Not yet 30, he was the youngest chief political writer ever named at the paper.

5. Axelrod met his future wife, Susan Landau, playing basketball in a coed league in Hyde Park. They married in 1979.

6. At one point or another, Axelrod worked for five of the eight candidates for 2008 Democratic presidential nominee, including Obama's main rivals, John Edwards and Hillary Clinton.

7. As a reporter, Axelrod covered Harold Washington's run to become the first black mayor of Chicago in 1983; four years later, he worked on Washington's successful re-election bid. He was also part of Deval Patrick's successful 2006 campaign to become the first black governor of Massachusetts.

8. Axelrod's wife, Susan, is a cofounder of Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy, and he once served on its advisory board. The Axelrods' daughter, Lauren, lives in a group home after a lifetime of seizures led to permanent brain damage.

9. His favorite Chicago restaurant is Manny's, a New York-style deli. He dines there regularly with Obama and Rahm Emanuel.

10. Axelrod has spent his entire adult life in Chicago and holds season tickets to the Chicago Bulls, the Chicago White Sox, and the Chicago Cubs.


  • New York Times
  • New York Daily News
  • Washington Post
  • Los Angeles Times
  • Chicago Tribune
  • Chicago Sun-Times
  • Guardian
  • Stuyvesant High School Alumni Association