Family Matters (Politics, Home Style): David & Susan Axelrod and Epilepsy; Bristol & Sarah Palin Interview on Greta (UPDATE 1X: GM Retiree Health Benefits Dropped–the Next “Attached String” Falls into Place?

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Did you see the latest issue of Parade Magazine this past weekend?

Call me a cynic, but are we seeing the first salvo in the next campaign planned by the Obama Administration regarding health care?

I didn’t know who the people were on the cover, but when I took the time to read the story inside, it turned out that the story was about how the daughter of Obama’s guru David Axelrod and his wife Susan discovered and have coped with the serious epilepsy problems of their daughter, Lauren.   It’s part of a “Heroic Parents” series.  And, this story was followed up with an appearance on the Today Show on Monday (which I did not see).

From the web edition of the story:

When her daughter was diagnosed with uncontrollable epilepsy, Susan Axelrod knew:

I Must Save My Child

By Melissa Fay Greene
Publication Date: 02/15/2009
Susan and Lauren Axelrod
Susan Axelrod and daughter Lauren, 27 (photo by Katherine Lamber for PARADE)

For more on the Axelrods and CURE, tune in to NBC’s TODAY show on Monday, February 16.

When Susan Axelrod tells the story of her daughter, she begins like most parents of children with epilepsy: The baby was adorable, healthy, perfect. Lauren arrived in June 1981, a treasured first-born. Susan Landau had married David Axelrod in 1979, and they lived in Chicago, where Susan pursued an MBA at the University of Chicago and David worked as a political reporter for the Chicago Tribune. (He later would become chief strategist for Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign and now is a senior White House adviser.) They were busy and happy. Susan attended classes while her mother babysat. Then, when Lauren was 7 months old, their lives changed overnight.


The story goes into great detail about Lauren’s condition and her mother’s efforts to bring the serious problems created by epilepsy into the light and mentions then-First Lady Hillary Clinton’s help as  for the organization  founded by Susan Axelrod, CURE.

Susan began to meet other parents living through similar hells. They agreed that no federal agency or private foundation was acting with the sense of urgency they felt, leaving 3 million American families to suffer in near-silence. In 1998, Susan and a few other mothers founded a nonprofit organization to increase public awareness of the realities of epilepsy and to raise money for research. They named it after the one thing no one offered them: CURE–Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy.

“Epilepsy is not benign and far too often is not treatable,” Susan says. “We wanted the public to be aware of the death and destruction. We wanted the brightest minds to engage with the search for a cure.”

Then-First Lady Hillary Clinton signed on to help; so did other politicians and celebrities. Later, veterans back from Iraq with seizures caused by traumatic brain injuries demanded answers, too. In its first decade, CURE raised $9 million, funded about 75 research projects, and inspired a change in the scientific dialogue about epilepsy.

The efforts by Susan Axelrod are certainly wonderful, but I am so cynical about everything that comes out of anything connected to Obama that I had to wonder if this whole thrust–a big cover story followed up by the Today Show–is part of the campaign to sell the health care changes that are brewing.  First we had Daschle and the house parties, now we have changes to health care that will probably affect many seniors in possibly negative ways, and now this PR effort involving David Axelrod and his family.   But Axelrod isn’t the focus of this story, it is his wife and daughter. My skeptic sensor wonders if this is a way to put a “human face” on the mastermind behind what could be some pretty upsetting changes in the works.  Is it the Obama crowd’s “I feel your pain” moment??

I don’t know if you can call it “exploitation” of Lauren, who is 27 years old. But there is something here that makes me uneasy.  Because we’ve come to learn that there is NOTHING that the Obama crowd does that doesn’t have some purpose.  I think there is something else afoot.

Today I thought about how Obama trotted his girls out at that party which the press attended, and then “realized” after the fact that it might be “too much exposure” for them.  And all through the campaign there were the huge crowds, which we found out were partly due to opening rock bands, food and beer in some cases.  The whole Obama campaign has been one big PR blitz, aided by the mainstream media.

So pardon me if I have mixed feelings about this story on the Axelrods and epilepsy.  It’s great that there is some information put out there, but…

Coincidentally, Greta Van Susteren did another segment up in Alaska on last night which opened with Bristol Palin and her baby.  Sarah Palin came on and the discussion was about the difficulties of raising a child and how they are lucky to have a family willing to pitch in.  It was a very factual and real discussion.  But was it exploitation? All I know is that I didn’t get the creepy feeling I got after I started mulling over the Axelrod article.  The Bristol Palin part of the segment was over and done with fairly quickly(it was only a very small section of the full interview; full video below).

The interview went on to a discussion of the stimulus package which Gov. Palin framed in terms of how the states might be left holding the bag on future costs of expanded programs and how the bill was rushed to the floor even though most people hadn’t read it. She wondered about the rush to vote since the bill signing was delayed until Tuesday.  She said that she thought a bill that hadn’t been read or debated should be vetoed. She commented on the Fairness Doctrine and how someone had to be questioning the Administration and that silencing critics could be bad for our democracy. And she talked about a letter she had sent to Obama about energy policy that apparently has gotten some positive feedback.  She also stressed again about ultimately becoming energy independent and bringing renewable energy sources online and how she’s like Obama to visit to see what really is happening with energy in Alaska.  (This was the longest interview shown last night; see Sarah Palin Interview below.)

Links to the videos:

Bristol Palin interview (much longer than the short piece on last night’s On the Record.

***Sarah Palin Interview

Introducing Tripp

So there they are, two back-to-back family stories which lead back to politics. In the case of Palin, it was a straightforward interview with Bristol and then policy talk with the Governor (and a spot on the snowmobile race that Todd Palin finished in 6th place.  In the case of the Axelrod interview, it was full of painful detail with no OBVIOUS politics.

But, be forewarned. I really think it’s part of an unfolding plan…and a sneaky one at that.


P.S.–I still go with Palin…


H/T to The Confluence

Tuesday: GM dumps retiree health care

So, GM gets bailed out…is this one of the “attached strings” for taking the money???   Slots in nicely as the next step in the PR campaign? (Fear, on the heels of “feel your pain”….)

13 Responses

  1. […] InsightAnalytical — Watching Our World wrote an interesting post today on Family Matters (Politics, Home Style): David & Susan Axelrod and Epilepsy; Bristol & Sarah Palin Interview on GretaHere’s a quick excerpt Sarah Palin came on and the discussion was about the difficulties of raising a child and how they are lucky to have a family willing to pitch in…. (This was the longest interview shown last night; see Sarah Palin Interview below…. … usteren, health care, Hillary Clinton, Iraq veterans, Lauren Axelrod, mainstream media, MSM, Obama Administration, Parade Magazine, PR, renewable energy, Sarah Palin, S… […]

  2. Susan Axelrod was on another of the morning shows this morning (Tuesday 17th) but I was on my way out so I didn’t hear what was said.

    I agree wiith you, it’s a little strange that we are just now hearing about Axelrod’s family. Throughout the campaigning, while other wives were being trotted out, I wasn’t even aware that Axelrod had a wife.

    Will watch for any health related announcements from the Obama camp.

  3. Great Health Resources Sources…

  4. I don’t trust Obama as far as I could throw him, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the story is a deliberate plant. I can’t yet see it’s exact purpose; we’ll have to see.

    However, the Axelrods’ story isn’t news to me; I was aware of it during the campaign. It’s the reason I thoroughly despise David Axelrod. It’s not so much that, after Clinton pushded so hard on legislation to help people like his daughter, that he worked for her opponent. That happens in politics.

    What was totally despicable was the vile nature of the campaign Axelrod oversaw – calling her and her husband racists, dismisisng her work as first lady, even having proxies refer to her as a monster. And there was the unrelenting misogyny that hurt not only Clinton, but has repercussions for all women in the country – including his daughter.

  5. My first impression is similar to yours. However, I believe there were PUMAs who pointed out months ago that Susan Axelrod (or someone else) had stated in the past the What HRC did for them was the most significant thing anyone had ever done to help awareness of epilepsy. I believe this was to reinforce the idea of what a backstabber David Axelrod was. Also, remember that WJC brought this up again during his speech at the convention. My personal take on this was that he wanted everyone to know what an a-hole David Axelrod was for trashing HRC after she had helped him with his daughter.

    Or it could be another cause celebre attempt at getting universal coverage for epilepsy. Remember the Kennedys did this for renal failure and dialysis. Rich people get the government to pay for their kid’s problems. It is secondary that other people may benefit–but they have to have the right disease.

  6. oops…kid’s should be kids’

    sorry–I intended plural.

  7. Yes, use it in the campaign then…the issue now is that it is being used as part of the CURRENT push for their health care “campaign.” It’s a tightly woven cloth of PR…

    And, oops..GM drops retiree health care? And they’re back again. And we’re bailing them out…is that one of the “attached strings?” Cut the health care, create more panic headlines?? In the meantime, retirees too young for Medicare…let’s see where they wind up! Probably used as the next PR tool!!

  8. The Palin interviews were just great! Seem like a wonderful, down to earth set of people. Just the kind of person I want for President as well.

    Bristol is a remarkably centered and mature young lady. She’s going to be just fine with that familt to help.

  9. I remembered that Hillary had been very helpful to the Axelrods regarding their child, and that Obama had done NOTHING to help them. I did not remember the details. Glad to see the info here.

  10. What kind of crazy nether world have I stumbled into? Only someone from that world would be so callous as to be “cynical” about the personal story that Susan Axelrod has to tell about her daughter’s epilepsy. I found your site because I was trying to research epilepsy. My adorable 4-year-old grandson has recently been diagnosed with this horrible disorder. I found information that left me sleepless with anxiety. I guess I have to thank you because stumbling onto your site left me shaking with anger. And anger, more than anxiety, results in action. Bless you David and Susan Axelrod, and bless you President Obama for your support of CURE in the past and, I hope, in the future.

  11. Excuse me, Margaret, but I gave Susan Axelrod credit for the good work she has done with CURE.

    What you should be shaking with anger about is why suddenly now the focus is on this and her TV appearances, right in the middle of the biggest PR machine for Obama’s programs? Is this just exploitation, big-time?

    That is all I am wondering about, NOT about CURE’s achievements.

    When did Obama support CURE?? Hillary Clinton actually gave the group a boost early on…

    I’m sorry that your grandson has epilepsy and also sorry that his grandmother apparently does not read critically enough to understand the actual question being raised.

    And frankly, there are MANY questions that haven’t and SHOULD be raised, including the dishonesty of the Obama crowd as they sell programs which may actually hurt the country in the long run.

    Stop blessing anyone in power and start examining their honesty and the manipulative way they operate.

    And please…stop drinking the KoolAid.

  12. If the daughter is 27, why is her mother speaking out? I could understand Lauren wanting to make a statement now that her father is powerful, but why would Susan Axelrod want to treat her adult daughter like a young child and speak for her like this? Just doesn’t make sense.

  13. I agree with the cynicism regarding the Axelrod interview. Anything, and I do mean anything associated with Axelrod and the Obama campaign is suspect. They ran the most vile, dishonest campaign I’ve ever witnessed and I’m no spring chicken so I’ve seen a lot. I don’t trust nor do I have any faith in anything coming out of this new administration.

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