David Axelrod helped mastermind President Obama's two election campaigns and steered the White House through countless crises as senior advisor. In his new book "Believer," the former Chicago Tribune political reporter opens up about his career, the challenges of governing and what he calls Obama's "great, unfulfilled promise" to change Beltway politics as usual.
On Thinking Obama Was Not Being Presidential Candidate Material
"What I said [to him] specifically was 'I don't think you're pathological enough to run for president.' He's an extraordinary ordinary guy. Loves his family, loves being with his family, loves being with his friends, likes watching a football game on TV, and I knew that some of the other folks who'd run, many of whom I had worked with, were gonna pull themselves out of bed at 4:00 in the morning because they had to be president. And as he said, being Barack Obama was a pretty good gig, he didn't have that pathological drive."
On Prepping President Obama to Debate Mitt Romney
"From the beginning we circled October 4th on the calendar in red because the history of presidents in their first presidential debates in a reelection campaign has been very very bad. Presidents tend to falter in those debates because they haven't debated for 4 years, they're not used to having someone on the same level as they are going at them, essentially peer to peer, and they tend to react badly. And so we prepared, we had months of prep for it, but the president was never really into the prep. Like other presidents he was interested in voluminous information to defend his record, and we sent 400-page memos and he'd send back 50-page memos with questions, and in the debate prep itself he was testy. ...