Despite being offered the opportunity of his dreams, President Barack Obama’s former top adviser David Axelrod says he turned down working on Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign because he “knew it would destroy [his] family.”
While discussing his new memoir Believer: My Forty Years in Politics on HuffPost Live, Axelrod said he feels a “sense of guilt for devoting so much time to politics" and not always being there for his wife and children. He said turning down Clinton in the early 1990s wasn't easy, but he knew taking the job would have a negative impact on his family.
“I knew it would destroy my family. I would have to leave Chicago and have to leave my wife for an extended period of time,” Axelrod said.
The former Chicago Tribune political writer said the suicide of his father ended his career in journalism, and his daughter Lauren’s battle with epilepsy was “formative” in his life. He recalled a time that his wife found their daughter “blue and limp in the crib" and they "thought she had died.”
Axelrod told HuffPost Live the start of his career “was a painful learning process” for him and his family, and that his relationship with his wife, Susan Landau, was “very fragile at that time.” He credited his wife for her “willingness to give [him] a chance” to learn how to balance work and family life.
Watch Axelrod's comments above, and click here for his full HuffPost Live conversation.