INDIANOLA, Iowa -- David Axelrod came to Indianola Tuesday to give a speech at Simpson College on his 40 year career in politics, both as a newspaper reporter at the Chicago Tribune and a political adviser. It happened to be the same day newly-announced Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made her first official campaign stop in Iowa.
Turn back the clock to 2007 and 2008, and both Axelrod and Clinton were also in Iowa. Although, back then, Axelrod served as Barack Obama's campaign adviser when they both beat Clinton in the Iowa Caucuses on the way to Obama's eventual win for the White House.
Axelrod spent part of Tuesday afternoon on campus talking to students about the challenges Clinton faces in her second run for president. Iowa taught Clinton a lot, Axelrod maintains.
Iowans chose Obama as their top candidate. Clinton finished third.
Axelrod says that stinging Iowa loss changed Clinton in a good way.
"The fact is there were two Hillary Clintons in 2007 and 2008," Axelrod told Channel 13 News, "In 2007, she was kind of cloaked in this clock, this veil of inevitability. And that was their message: we're going to win."
That message helped sink Clinton's chances. "It was the wrong message," Axelrod said. "First of all, voters don't want to be told what they're going to do."
He added about the early Clinton campaign, "there was an arrogance to it."
But Axelrod believes Clinton changed after her Iowa loss. She became more comfortable showing her vulnerabilities and did a better job of connecting with people.
Axelrod said in her 2016 campaign, Clinton has to show at her events in small venues, like Tuesday in Monticello and Wednesday in Norwalk, that she can connect with Iowans. And even though she is someone who has been part of politics for decades, Clinton needs to show she has answers for the future.