David Plouffe served as Democratic leader Dick Gephardt’s Deputy Chief of Staff in 1997-98. In 2001, he joined forces with David Axelrod and in 2004 their firm AKPD media served as lead strategist on Barack Obama’s successful U.S. Senate bid. After managing Obama’s presidential campaign, Plouffe helped set up Organizing for America, a thirteen-million-strong group of Obama supporters, to continue the spirit of the campaign. His website is www.davidplouffe.net.

In an exclusive excerpt from David Plouffe’s memoir, The Audacity to Win, the Obama campaign aide recounts how his team handled the candidate’s infamous comments about guns and religion—and how Obama took the blame.