Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Axelrod: I Heard Absolute Comfort, But Not Without Sadness

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    NEWSLETTERS

    In a phone interview Tuesday afternoon, David Axelrod -- who worked on all six Richard Daley campaigns for mayor -- said the campaigns never got harder, and that he's happy the mayor is retiring to spend time for his family.

    As a friend I was happy for him, because he's quitting a long hard stretch here and 22 years is plenty long enough and he's entitled to have a life outside of it, and now he will.

    On Daley's legacy (ed. note: "accustomed" is an interesting choice of words.)

    The mayor built trust across constituencies over the course of his time in office. Remember, the city was badly polarized in 1989 when he first ran and he was a healing force at the time, his support grew in the African-American community to the point where he by the end was getting majority votes across the city. [The campaigns] really didn't get harder. As his legacy became more apparent, as people saw the impact of his leadershuip, the opposition, people who were less well supported, people became accustomed and very appreciative of his leadership.

    On telling the President:

    I told him and he was really surpirsed. The President knows how much Rich Daley loves the city, love his job. But he I think uniquely can appreciate that these jobs become your life. Twenty-two years is an awfully long time to commit yourself. So the President understood why he made his decision, but was surprised that he did.

    On Rahm:

    The discussion Rahm and I had today was only Rich Daley and our long relationship with him. We both worked for him in 1989, we both admire him ... Rahm has a full plate here in washington and that's occupying him right now.

    On how he saw Daley's decision:

    I heard absolute comfort with his decision, though not without any sadness.