David Axelrod speaks in St. Joseph

St. Joseph, Mich. One of the country's most famous political strategists made an appearance in St. Joseph Saturday night. David Axelrod is the former senior advisor to President Obama and spoke at a fundraiser for the Berrien County Democratic Party.

Axelrod and his wife have a home in Buchanan Township -- they've lived in the area since the early 1990s and the couple has been very involved with Democratic politics in the area for several years.

"My wife's worked precincts in this area and we feel very close to the community so this is kind of a homecoming," Axelrod said. "I think we could be a stronger community with two vibrant parties instead of just one."

Ginny Washburn, vice chair of the Berrien County Democratic Party, said Axelrod first agreed to speak before the group last Christmas.

"We work at a soup kitchen in Benton Harbor," she said, referring to her group Harbor Country Progress, headquartered in Union Pier. "And the Axelrods came and Susan and David came to me and said we really want to do something to help raise awareness of democrats in Berrien County."

It took about a year to figure out a time in Axelrod's busy schedule, but on Saturday things finally came together. The Berrien County Democratic party has been working to build strength in the largely red county over the past few years.

Axelrod also touched on the current healthcare.gov debacle - stressing the need for a long term vision when it comes to the healthcare law.

"There's no doubt that these screw ups around the website have exacerbated the problem because people can't go on the website, or they hadn't been able to until now, and find out exactly what their alternatives are now," Axelrod said. "When they do, they're going to find out that they have real insurance and often times for less than they're paying right now."

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