Former senior Obama aides to speak at Northwestern


José M. Osorio/TNS

David Axelrod

David Fishman, Reporter

Northwestern College Democrats is bringing former top Obama aides — David Axelrod, Jon Favreau and Jeremy Bird — to speak Nov. 6, the three-year anniversary of President Barack Obama’s re-election.

All three of the speakers have served Obama in some capacity: Axelrod was the president’s senior adviser for his first term, Favreau served as Obama’s speechwriter from 2005 to 2013 and Bird worked on Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns as a political strategist.

The event, which will be held in Cahn Auditorium, will be open to NU students for free but limited to the first 1,000 people who arrive. Non-NU students are also welcome but will be charged $5 for tickets. The event will feature a Q&A session, moderated by Medill Prof. Larry Stuelpnagel, and a special VIP session with the panelists afterwards.

Post-Obama, the three men have remained largely in politics, in one form or another. Axelrod now works as a senior political commentator for CNN, and has written a New York Times bestselling book, “Believer: My Forty Years in Politics.” Favreau, after stepping away from the White House in 2013, co-founded Fenway Strategies, a consulting company, while Bird, who worked to build a grassroots movement for Obama, started 270 Strategies, a company that has advised presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

“It’s interesting, a year out of 2016, to hear how actual political staff think about the very intense democratic primaries,” said Robert Bourret, president of the College Democrats. “Each of them will provide very unique insight into the world of the 2016 election.”

Bourret said the group paid about $40,000 to the Washington Speakers Bureau to get the three speakers as a package deal.

“We’ve never really had a panel discussion before with so many high level political staff members,” he said. “There will be a lengthy session for question-and-answer so students will be able to come up to a microphone and ask the panelists questions.”

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