FALL 2012



David Plouffe managed Barack Obama’s successful 2008 presidential campaign and now serves as one of his Senior Advisors.  Plouffe began his political career working for Iowa Senator Tom Harkin's 1990 re-election campaign, and has since been a part of large range of campaigns at the state and federal level.  From 1997 to 1998, Plouffe worked in the House of Representatives as Democratic leader Dick Gephardt's Deputy Chief of Staff.  A native of Delaware, Plouffe is a graduate of the University of Delaware.

Plouffe is best known as the campaign manager for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign in the United States. A long-time Democratic Party campaign consultant, he was a partner at the party-aligned campaign consulting firm AKPD Message and Media, which he joined in 2000.

Plouffe was an outside senior advisor to Obama since the president's first day in office and was then appointed as a Senior Advisor to the President (inside the White House) in 2011 following the resignation of David Axelrod, who went on to start Obama's reelection campaign.

Plouffe was raised in Wilmington, Delaware and attended St. Mark's High School. He left the University of Delaware in 1989 to pursue a full-time career in politics, and completed his undergraduate degree in May 2010.

Plouffe began his political career by working for Senator Tom Harkin's 1990 re-election campaign. He later worked as a state field director for Harkin's unsuccessful 1992 Presidential campaign. In the same year he successfully managed Congressman John Olver's first re-election bid in Massachusetts.

In 1994 Plouffe managed Delaware Attorney General Charles M. Oberly's unsuccessful campaign against Senator William V. Roth. He then worked as campaign director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 1995. In 1996 Plouffe managed Bob Torricelli's successful campaign to fill Bill Bradley's New Jersey seat in the United States Senate.

From 1997-98, Plouffe served as Democratic leader Dick Gephardt's Deputy Chief of Staff. In 1999-2000, as executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Plouffe led Democrats to gains that came within several thousand votes of winning back the House. He also led the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to unusually high fundraising amounts, during his tenure at the DCCC.

In the winter of 2000, Plouffe joined AKPD Message and Media but left briefly to serve as a strategist for Gephardt's unsuccessful Presidential bid. He returned to the firm and became a partner in February 2004.

Beginning in 2003, Plouffe and fellow AKPD partner David Axelrod worked on Barack Obama's 2004 Illinois Senate campaign, beginning his association with Obama. Plouffe worked with Axelrod on the successful 2006 campaign of Deval Patrick for Governor of Massachusetts.


Steve Schmidt is a top Republican political strategist and commentator for MSNBC. He was chief strategist for GOP presidential contender John McCain in 2008. He was a political science major at the University of Delaware.

Steve Schmidt is vice chairman for public affairs of Edelman, one of the world’s largest public relations firms.

Schmidt served as a senior advisor to Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign and before that, as campaign manager for the re-election of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006. Schwarzenegger's landslide victory was described by The New York Times as “particularly remarkable given that the Governor appeared to be all but finished just six months ago.” The Los Angeles Times commended Schmidt for having run “a nearly flawless campaign" and overseen a re-election that “ran against a political tide that swamped other Republicans across the nation.”

Before the Schwarzenegger campaign, Schmidt served as a member of the White House senior staff as deputy assistant to the President and counselor to the Vice President. In that position, he advised on a wide range of issues and worked at the intersection of public communications, policy development, legislative advocacy and political strategy. During his tenure at the White House, Schmidt directed strategic communications for the nomination of Chief Justice Roberts and led the nomination team for Justice Alito.

Schmidt served as one of the top strategists on President Bush's 2004 re-election and was a member of the senior strategic planning group that directed the campaign. He was responsible for directing and implementing the campaign's daily tactical and strategic communications effort, overseeing rapid response, regional media, research, Internet and television and radio operations.

Before that, Schmidt worked on Capitol Hill as the Communications Director for the National Republican Congressional Committee where he served as chief communications and media strategist for the U.S. House of Representatives Republican majority during the historic 2002 midterm elections.