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updated: 11/26/2012 9:44 PM

Obama adviser says Ryan pick was a surprise

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  • David Axelrod was a calming influence on the Obama 2012 campaign team and helped focus on middle-class voters.

      David Axelrod was a calming influence on the Obama 2012 campaign team and helped focus on middle-class voters.
    Associated Press file photo

  • Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, right, and vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan campaign in October in Celina, Ohio.

      Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, right, and vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan campaign in October in Celina, Ohio.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

A top adviser to President Barack Obama's re-election campaign says one of the biggest surprises of the 2012 election was Mitt Romney's choice of a running mate.

Speaking to students at the University of Chicago Monday, senior strategist David Axelrod said by choosing Congressman Paul Ryan, Romney played to his base at a time when he needed to be broadening his appeal.

Axelrod said he expected Romney to choose either Ohio Gov. Rob Portman or former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

But Axelrod said Ryan's selection wasn't nearly as big of a surprise as 2008, when John McCain picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Axelrod is a graduate of the University of Chicago. He will join the university's Institute of Politics as its inaugural director in January.

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