Regent University Clash of the Titans

Speaker Bios

David Axelrod | David Plouffe | Dana Perino | Newt Gingrich | Jay Sekulow

David AxelrodDavid Axelrod

Recently inducted into The American Association of Political Consultants’ Hall of Fame, David Axelrod served as senior advisor to President Barack Obama, senior advisor to the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition, senior strategist to Barack Obama's historic campaign for the presidency in 2008 and his 2012 re-election campaign. Today he serves as the Director, Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago and is a senior political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.

During his time at the White House, Axelrod was the administration's most frequent presence on the influential Sunday talk shows. He also appeared several times on The Tonight Show, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Late Show with David Letterman, just to name a few.
In 2006, Axelrod ran the independent expenditure media program for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, helping Democrats regain the majority in the House of Representatives. That same year, Axelrod served as media adviser to Deval Patrick, who was elected Massachusetts's first Democratic governor in 16 years and the state's first-ever African-American governor.

In 2004, when President Obama was a member of the Illinois State Senate, Axelrod helped him defeat a primary field of six other Democrats and go on to a landslide win in his U.S. Senate campaign.

From 1988 to 2008, Axelrod was the founder and senior partner at the consulting firm AKPD Message and Media, based in Chicago. In that capacity, he managed media strategy and communications for more than 150 local, state and national campaigns, with a focus on progressive candidates and causes.

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David PlouffeDavid Plouffe

Considered the “architect” of President Barack Obama’s two presidential campaign victories, David Plouffe is one of the most influential voices in Washington. President Obama himself credited Plouffe, his campaign manager, in his acceptance speech in 2008, calling him “the unsung hero of this campaign.”

As Plouffe departed the White House in January 2013, having served as Obama’s senior advisor, the president during a national news event, once again singled out Plouffe, saying, “If it were not for him, we would not have been as effective as a White House, and I probably wouldn't be here.”
In 2010, Plouffe was number 4 on Newsweek’s list of “New Thought Leaders,” and The Daily Beast named him as one of the “25 Smartest People of the Decade.” GQ named Plouffe in 2012 the third most powerful person in Washington.

The Obama/Biden presidential campaign and Plouffe were awarded the Titanium and Integrated Grand Prix Awards from the Cannes International Advertising Festival (2009). The campaign won for the effort's digital savvy, its success in community building and its willingness to allow the Obama brand to be created by consumers rather than top-down communications mandates.

He has managed campaigns at all levels of politics, served as an award-winning producer of television advertisements, served as a consultant to leading Fortune 500 companies and has been a ubiquitous presence on national news shows.

Plouffe is the author of The New York Times best seller, The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama’s Historic Victory. In 2013 he was inducted into The American Association of Political Consultants’ Hall of Fame. He is a contributor and strategic advisor for Bloomberg Television.

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Dana PerinoDana Perino

As only the second female press secretary in U.S. history (and the first female Republican) and one of the most widely-respected members of President Bush’s senior staff, Dana Perino is an expert in crafting and communicating key messages under stressful conditions and a keen analyst of the latest political news. Perino is currently a FOX News contributor and co-host of The Five, the channel’s daily political news show.

Perino served as the White House Press Secretary to President George W. Bush from 2007-2009. An expert on healthcare, energy policy, and the position of female leaders in government and business, she communicates with audiences with the same clarity and precision that gained the respect of the rough-and-tumble White House press corps. Before she joined the White House, Perino was a spokesperson at the Department of Justice. Two years later, she moved to the White House to do communications work for the Council on Environmental Quality. Her political experience also includes working on Capitol Hill for Rep. Dan Schaefer (R-CO) and Rep. Scott McInnis (R-CO).

Perino worked as a journalist before turning to politics, covering the State Assembly of Illinois for local CBS. She is a former commentator for The Washington Post, POLITICO, and National Review. She is also the president of the strategic communications firm Dana Perino and Company and a frequent public speaker on how politics affects people outside the beltway. President Obama also nominated her to the Broadcasting Board of Governors in 2009.

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Newt GingrichNewt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich is known as the architect of the “Contract with America” that led the Republican Party to victory in 1994 by capturing the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. Under his leadership as Speaker of the House, Congress passed welfare reform, the first balanced budget in a generation, and the first tax cut in 16 years.
In addition, the Congress restored funding to strengthen defense and intelligence capabilities, an action later lauded by the bipartisan 9/11 Commission.

From May 2011 to May 2012, Gingrich was a candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States, winning the South Carolina and the Georgia primaries. The campaign was especially notable for its innovative policy agenda, its effort to bring new coalitions into the Republican fold, and for Gingrich's debate performances. His $2.50 a gallon energy plan set off a nationwide discussion about the use of America’s energy resources.

As an author, Gingrich has published 24 books including 14 fiction and nonfiction New York Times bestsellers. His novels are active history studies in the lessons of warfare based on fictional accounts of historical wartime battles and their aftermaths. Gingrich and his wife, Callista, also host and produce historical and public policy documentaries.

In his post-Speaker role, he has become one of the most highly sought-after public speakers, accepting invitations to speak before prestigious organizations throughout the world, sharing unique and unparalleled insights on a wide range of topics.

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Jay SekulowJay Sekulow

Dr. Jay Alan Sekulow is Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a law firm and educational organization that focuses on constitutional law. He is also Chief Counsel of the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ). A nationally recognized and respected defender of constitutional freedoms, Sekulow has assembled one of the most prestigious law firms in the nation. Founded in 1990, the ACLJ focuses on constitutional law. In 2005, TIME magazine called the ACLJ "a powerful counterweight" to the ACLU. Business Week said the ACLJ is "the leading advocacy group for religious freedom."

An accomplished and respected judicial advocate, Sekulow has presented numerous oral arguments before the Supreme Court of the United States in defense of constitutional freedoms. Sekulow received his Ph.D. from Regent University, with a dissertation on American Legal History. He is also an honors graduate of Mercer Law School where he served on the Mercer Law Review, and an honors graduate of Mercer
University. He was appointed a Visiting Fellow of Oxford University at Harris Manchester College where he lectured on Middle East Affairs and International Law. He also serves as a member of the Summer Research Institute at Oxford from 2013 to 2016. He has completed a program of study at Vanderbilt University's Owen School of Management in Executive Leadership and Strategic Innovation.

Sekulow currently serves as a member of the board of trustees for The Supreme Court Historical Society in Washington, D.C. He also serves as a board of Trustees member for Regent University.

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