Presidential Election Series 2012

The man who helped get Barack Obama elected to the presidency recently spoke in the area. David Axelrod served as Chief Campaign Strategist to Obama in 2008 and is now working on the re-election. He talked about both experiences to an overflow audience at Benedictine University.

More than 500 people, from both political parties, came out to hear the Democratic Political Consultant speak. Despite leaning left, throughout his time in politics he’s learned both sides need to work together.

“I think they want to work together but they have to break this fever within their party that says any element of cooperation is somehow a betrayal of the Republican party,” said Axelrod.

When Barack Obama decided to run for Senate in 2004, Axelrod penned the famous “Yes We Can” line that later became Obama’s slogan when he ran for President. Axelrod talked about both campaigns during his presentation, part of Benedictine’s Center for Civic Leadership Presidential Election Series 2012. Former Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan founded the center. It sponsors seminars to help prepare students for roles in public service.

“Having a chance to ask questions of a nationally known figure is important,” said Ryan, Director, Center for Civic Leadership.

“What I really took to heart was his genuine respect for people who are coming to the table and working to make things better,” said Carla Feinkind, a Hinsdale resident.

Despite being on a college campus, many of the members of the audience were outside the 18-29 voter demographic that’s going to be key in this fall’s election. Those voters showed up in record numbers in 2008, but didn’t come out as strongly in 2010.

“All I can do is remind young people how much is at stake,” said Axelrod. “After all, the future that we’re debating is the future that young people are going to live.”

“I hope that more voters will come out, more young people will actually realize what a great right it is to go out there and vote,” said Karolina Klarowicz, a Senior at Benedictine.

One issue that could make a difference is student loan rates.

“The President strongly believes that we should step in and make sure that those interest rates don’t double at a time when students can ill-afford it,” said Axelrod.

Something that would impact students long after they graduate. In the fall, Benedictine will incite a nationally known Republican to speak on campus.


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