The 2009 Creativity 50: David Axelrod and David Plouffe

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David Axelrod
David Axelrod
In Barack Obama's November 4th acceptance speech, right after he thanked his family, he thanked two guys named David: David Plouffe—"the unsung hero of this campaign, who built the best campaign, I think, in the history of the United States of America"—and David Axelrod, "who's been a partner with me every step of the way." Together, the pair put together what Obama described as "the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics."

Since teaming up in 2004 to orchestrate Obama's senatorial bid—the same year Plouffe became a partner in Axelrod's firm, AKPD Message and Media—each has served as the yin to the other's yang. Axelrod, the former columnist and veteran of Chicago
David Plouffe
David Plouffe
politics, became the voice of the campaign, while the younger Plouffe—a college dropout with years of electoral experience—stayed behind the scenes and crunched the numbers, famously devising a path through the primaries that allowed Obama to upset the presumptive favorite Hillary Clinton. (Perhaps these guys aren't named "David" by accident.) Together they ran a campaign that exhibited discipline in everything it did—from messaging to font treatments to online networking—and which will serve as the blueprint for many campaign cycles to come.

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