The architect who shaped President Obama's historic presidential campaign is moving back home.
Axelrod, 55, served in the White House for two years, working down the hall from the Oval Office.
"It is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of opportunity. But it is very much the right time for me to go, personally. And I think professionally, too," Axelrod said.
He will resume the role of top strategist when President Obama's campaign headquarters opens in Chicago this spring.
But before that, Axelrod is mapping out some relaxation for his immediate future.
He is planning to attend a Chicago Symphony Orchestra performance Tuesday night, catch up with old friends at Manny's Deli and head to Arizona in March to check out the White Sox and Cubs in spring training.
Axelrod acknowledged his former grueling schedule created the need for some personal time.
"Working in the White House is like working in a submarine. You rarely get out, you take all your meals here. You look at the world through a periscope," he said. "I am looking forward to getting out in the real world."