In The Know

Karl Rove and David Axelrod partner for online class on winning elections

Courtesy of MasterClass

An unlikely pair — David Axelrod and Karl Rove — is teaming up, reaching and teaching across the aisle about winning elections.

The political odd couple — Axelrod was a senior adviser to former President Obama while Rove famously served under former President George W. Bush — has put on their teaching hats to instruct a MasterClass on politics called “Campaign Strategy and Messaging,” ITK has exclusively learned.

{mosads}The course, which includes 24 separate lessons, will be the first one focused on politics from MasterClass, the online education company, and the first class to be taught by two instructors.

In the class — which costs $90 for lifetime access — the presidential campaign gurus will “demystify the political campaign process and break down their philosophies on what it takes to plan and execute a winning campaign,” according to MasterClass.

“We just sort of clicked,” Rove, 67, says of the eyebrow-raising friendship, in one clip. “People find it strange that a Republican and a Democrat like us, you know somebody who’s been partisan, who’s played at sort of the same level at presidential campaigns, could somehow be friends. I think it’s sort of weird that people think that it’s odd,” add Rove, a Fox News contributor.

The political opposites say they initially bonded over a devastating and “painful” connection involving their family histories.

After Axelrod read Rove’s memoir, Rove recalls the 63-year-old Democratic strategist sending him a note. “Attached was an article and a eulogy, a testament that he made about his father,” he says. “My mother committed suicide. David’s father committed suicide.”

“Even though I think that his ideas are generally wrong about where we should go, I also recognize that that’s the great thing about democracy,” says Axelrod, a CNN senior political commentator, “we can have a contest around ideas and contend around ideas and still respect each other as people who are in the arena and have a passion for the larger project of democracy.”

In the series of courses, the improbable duo gets into the nitty gritty of campaign strategy — with a dose of humor.

“Curly, the great philosopher in [the 1991 movie] ‘City Slickers,’ talked about one thing,” Rove tells students. “If you had to pick one thing that was critical to success, it was whether or not the candidate had an idea about why they were running that made sense and seemed relevant to the voters.”

“I thought you were going to say that Curly in ‘City Slickers’ said to stay in your saddle and not fall off your horse — which is also true in a campaign,” quips Axelrod.

“The class isn’t about being a Democrat or Republican — it’s about two of the best political minds of our generation teaching how to win elections,” David Rogier, co-founder and CEO of MasterClass, said in a statement. “David and Karl break down their respective campaign strategies and debate what is happening in the country today, and how we got here.”

The partisan twosome join a long list of other big names among MasterClass’s teaching whizzes, including “West Wing” creator Aaron Sorkin, tennis pro Serena Williams, Christina Aguilera, journalist Bob Woodward and Spike Lee, among others.

The politics class with Axelrod and Rove is available on MasterClass beginning Thursday afternoon.

Tags David Axelrod Karl Rove MasterClass online education Politics of the United States

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