; born May 27, 1967)
is an American political strategist
best known as the campaign manager
for Barack Obama
's 2008 presidential campaign
in the United States. A long-time Democratic Party
campaign consultant, he was a partner at the party-aligned campaign consulting firm AKPD Message and Media
, which he joined in 2000.
Plouffe was an outside senior advisor to Obama since the president's first day in office and was then appointed as a Senior Advisor to the President
(inside the White House
) in 2011 following the resignation of David Axelrod
, who went on to start Obama's reelection campaign.
Plouffe was born and raised in Wilmington
in a Jewish
the son of Frances (née Vincent), a stay-at-home mother, and James Everett "Jim" Plouffe, a factory worker who later had a job in marketing.
He was raised in a working-class family.
Plouffe attended St. Mark's High School
. He left the University of Delaware
prior to graduating in 1989 to pursue a full-time career in politics, and completed his full undergraduate degree in May 2010.
Plouffe began his political career by working for Senator Tom Harkin
's 1990 re-election campaign.
He later worked as a state field director for Harkin's unsuccessful 1992 Presidential campaign. In the same year he successfully managed Congressman John Olver
's first re-election bid in Massachusetts
. In 1994 Plouffe managed Delaware Attorney General Charles M. Oberly
's unsuccessful campaign against Senator William V. Roth
. He then worked as campaign director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
in 1995. In 1996 Plouffe managed Bob Torricelli
's successful campaign to fill Bill Bradley
's New Jersey
seat in the United States Senate. From 1997-98, Plouffe served as Democratic leader Dick Gephardt
's Deputy Chief of Staff
. In 1999-2000, as executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
, Plouffe led Democrats to gains that came within several thousand votes of winning back the House. He also led the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
to unusually high fundraising amounts, during his tenure at the DCCC. In the winter of 2000, Plouffe joined AKPD Message and Media but left briefly to serve as a strategist for Gephardt's unsuccessful Presidential bid. He returned to the firm and became a partner in February 2004. Beginning in 2003, Plouffe and fellow AKPD partner David Axelrod
worked on Barack Obama's 2004 Illinois Senate campaign, beginning his association with Obama. Plouffe worked with Axelrod on the successful 2006 campaign of Deval Patrick
for Governor of Massachusetts
2008 Barack Obama presidential campaign
Plouffe was the campaign manager for Obama's successful 2008 presidential campaign. He is credited with the campaign's successful overall strategy in the race (primarily against Senator Hillary Clinton
) for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, to focus on the first caucus
and on maximizing the number of pledged delegates
, as opposed to focusing on states with primaries
and the overall popular vote
. He is also credited by The New Republic
for Obama's success in the Iowa caucus
and for crafting an overall strategy to prolong the primary past Super Tuesday
. The Chicago Tribune
writes, "Plouffe was the mastermind behind a winning strategy that looked well past Super Tuesday's contests on Feb. 5 and placed value on large and
Plouffe also maintained discipline over communications in the campaign, including controlling leaks and releasing information about the campaign on its terms. Averse to publicity himself, Plouffe's control over the internal workings of the Obama campaign successfully avoided the publicly aired squabbles that frequently trouble other campaigns.
In June 2008, when then-Senator Obama clinched the Democratic Party nomination, he thanked Plouffe for being the one "who never gets any credit, but has built the best political campaign, I think, in the history of the United States." In May 2008, David Axelrod praised Plouffe, stating he had "done the most magnificent job of managing a campaign that I've seen in my life of watching presidential politics. To start something like this from scratch and build what we have built was a truly remarkable thing."
After winning the election on November 4, Obama credited Plouffe in his acceptance speech, calling him "the unsung hero of this campaign, who built the . . . best political campaign, I think, in the history of the United States of America."
Plouffe went to work as an outside senior adviser to the Obama administration, in January 2009. His book The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama's Historic Victory
, discussing management strategies and tactics that he used in the 2008 campaign,
was published on November 3, 2009 and became a New York Times
bestseller. He later issued a video challenge for Obama supporters to buy a copy of his book on December 8, 2009 in order to "Beat Sarah Palin
" and her best-selling book for one day.
He signed with the Washington Speakers Bureau
to give paid speeches and plans to engage in non-government consulting work.
In May 2009, Plouffe delivered the convocation
address at Cornell University
He spoke about the balance between family time and professional time, and how he had yet to learn exactly how to accomplish an appropriate balance, but hoped to devote more time to his family than he was physically able to during 2007 and 2008.
2011–2013 Senior Advisor to the President
In January 2011, Plouffe joined the White House as Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor. Plouffe replaced David Axelrod as Senior Advisor when Axelrod returned to Chicago to help run President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.
In his role as Senior Advisor, Plouffe led the crafting of White House strategy and communicating the President’s message. After a successful reelection and inauguration of President Obama, Plouffe departed the White House in January 2013. During a national news event, on his final day in the White House, Plouffe was singled out by the President saying, “What people don’t always realize, because he doesn’t like to show it, is the reason he does this stuff is because he cares deeply about people. And he cares about justice, and he cares about making sure that everybody gets a shot in life. And, those values have motivated him to do incredible things, and were it not for him, we would not have been as effective a White House and I probably wouldn’t be here.”
Career after the White House
After leaving the White House in early 2013, Plouffe became a contributor for Bloomberg TV and ABC News.
In April 2013, Plouffe was inducted into the American Association of Political Consultants Hall of Fame.
Plouffe has drawn criticism for his paid speaking engagements abroad while on hiatus from advising Obama. In early 2009, Plouffe spoke in Baku
for $50,000. The event's sponsor had ties to the authoritarian government in the country. Following complaints from human rights groups, Plouffe donated his speaking fees to the National Democratic Institute
In December 2010, Plouffe received $100,000 for two speeches in Nigeria
from an affiliate of the South African telecommunications company MTN Group
. At the time, MTN had been doing business with the government of Iran
since 2005. Recently, MTN has come under increased scrutiny by the U.S. for allegations that the Iranian government has used the MTN network in the country to track and monitor dissidents. MTN has been listed on the "Iran Business Registry" of prominent watchdog group United Against Nuclear Iran
White House spokesman Eric Schultz explained that Plouffe only spoke to the group about digital communications and cellular technology, and declined to meet with the company's leadership. Schultz also said the criticism of Plouffe's speeches before he joined the White House was "misplaced." 
In 2013, in response to Congressman Darrell Issa
's accusations that the Obama administration knew about the IRS targeting of not-for-profit conservative groups
for extra scrutiny, Plouffe tweeted: "Strong words from Mr Grand Theft Auto and suspected arsonist/insurance swindler. And loose ethically today" referring to two incidents in Issa's past. In 1972, while a teenager, Issa was accused of stealing a Maserati sports car; the charges were later dropped. In 1982, a Cleveland warehouse belonging to Issa burned to the ground. The fire was ruled suspicious and Issa collected an insurance payout, but he was not charged with any crime.
- Plouffe, David. The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama's Historic Victory, Viking Adult (November 3, 2009); ISBN 978-0-670-02133-8
Plouffe is married to Olivia Morgan, a Senior Advisor to Maria Shriver
’s A Woman’s Nation, a member of President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities,
and Director of Federal Relations to Gray Davis
when he was governor of California.
The couple resides in Washington, D.C.
and have a daughter, who was born two days after the 2008 Presidential election, and a son.
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- David Plouffe Throwback Strategy Challenge
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- Baker, Peter (8/7/2012). "Aide’s Fees Draw Critics and, Then, Defenders". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- Washington Post: "Plouffe calls Issa ‘Mr. Grand Theft Auto’" By Aaron Blake June 3, 2013
- Baltimore Jewish Life: "Plouffe, White House Aides Target Issa" by Bill Hoffmann June 3, 2013
- USA Today: "Rep. Issa, Obama aide have war of words" David Jackson June 3, 2013
- CNN: "IRS controversy turns personal, nasty" by Jake Tapper June 2, 2013
- NPR: "White House-Issa Fight: Nasty But Normal In Washington" by Frank James June 03, 2013
- Politico: "David Plouffe rips Darrell Issa ‘loose ethically’" By TAL KOPAN June 3, 2013
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- Cillizza, Chris (2008-11-07). "Plouffe to the Senate?". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-11-07.