David Axelrod: Moving to CNN ‘Made a Lot of Sense for Me’

By Alissa Krinsky 

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David Axelrod with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, sculptor Emilie Brzezinski, and MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski in Chicago last week.

David Axelrod with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, sculptor Emilie Brzezinski, and MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski in Chicago last week.

“Look, I’m very grateful to NBC and MSNBC, I had a great experience. But CNN offered me a great opportunity to really bring my expertise to bear,” former MSNBC’er David Axelrod tells TVNewser about taking his punditry to a rival cabler earlier this month, becoming CNN’s senior political commentator.

“As a practitioner, I’ve covered two presidential elections as a newspaperman, and I’ve helped run several [campaigns]. I’m interested in the process of electing a president, and I want to have an opportunity to bring that to bear more, and the CNN offer was attractive.”

TVNewser spoke with Axelrod in Chicago last week at an art gallery showing of work by sculptor Emilie Brzezinski, mother of Mika Brzezinski. Axelrod had been a frequent guest on Morning Joe.

Previous reporting has framed Axelrod’s move from MSNBC as a repudiation of the network’s approach to covering politics, with Axelrod seeming to say that MSNBC’s coverage has been partisan.

“That was a little bit unfair,” Axelrod tells TVNewser about the Washington Post story, “because the reporter asked a question, I was on the run [in the spin room after CNN’s September 16 presidential debate], and it got blown into something that it shouldn’t have been.

“Obviously, MSNBC is trying to make the move back to news. [But] the role that [CNN Worldwide President] Jeff Zucker laid out for me was the role that I want to play in this election. I’ve also started to do some writing for CNN.com, that was a great opportunity and it’s very well-read.”

Axelrod will be weighing in both online and on-the-air as CNN covers the 2016 campaign, particularly around candidate debates and next year’s party conventions.

And as the campaign season heats up, Axelrod says that despite speculation, he will not be consulting in an official capacity for any presidential candidate.

“I’m certainly not going to be embarking on any campaign this year.  I’ve got the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago, I’ve got my work at CNN, so I’ve got a wonderful plate of things to do.  I made a decision after 2012 that that was my last campaign, so I’m going to be faithful to that.”