President Obama’s Senior White House Advisor will be in Iowa this weekend to talk with Iowa Democratic Party activists. David Axelrod was Obama’s top political consultant for the 2008 presidential campaign and he’ll be the closing speaker Sunday afternoon at Senator Tom Harkin’s annual “Steak Fry” in Indianola.

“My message is not be discouraged, to take heart from our own experiences,” Axelrod says.  “We know what it’s like to be counted out.  We know what it’s like to be written off by the pundits and the Washington insiders.” 

Axelrod spoke with Radio Iowa by phone late this afternoon. According to Axelrod, Democratic Governor Chet Culver shouldn’t be “counted out” quite yet because at this point in the 1998 campaign the eventual winner, Tom Vilsack, was 20 points behind.

“It does strike me as slightly odd that in searching for new answers that will help create a brighter future that people would turn to Terry Branstad, who I remember as a young reporter covering back in 1982 running for governor,” Axelrod said. “That’s 28 years ago.”

Axelrod was a political reporter and City Hall bureau chief for the Chicago Tribune before he left journalism to serve as press secretary for Paul Simon’s 1984 U.S. Senate campaign in Illinois.

Axelrod predicts Democratic candidates this November will do better than the “pundits” are predicting.  “I think when people focus on the choice, then, you know, you’re going to be a little surprised at the result,” Axelrod said. “We Obama people, perhaps more than any, appreciate that the conventional wisdom is often wrong.” 

David Plouffe, Obama’s 2008 campaign manager, will also speak at Senator Harkin’s annual fall fundraiser.