Shrum Honored by AAPC

Veteran political consultant and expert in practical politics, Robert Shrum receives top honors from the American Association of Political Consultants.
BySusan Bell

Robert Shrum, Carmen H. and Louis Warschaw Chair in Practical Politics and professor of the practice of political science at USC Dornsife, has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) and was inducted into its Hall of Fame — the highest honor that working members of the profession can bestow upon a colleague.

Shrum received the honor at a ceremony held on March 18 at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana, during the 2015 AAPC Pollie Awards and Conference.

“I am honored by this award, just as I was honored to work for extraordinary candidates and causes for more than a third of a century,” said Shrum, who served as speechwriter to Senators George McGovern and Edward M. Kennedy.

Each year, the AAPC — America’s only network of political professionals — selects accomplished industry professionals who have amassed a career of achievements that distinguishes them amongst their peers for induction into its Hall of Fame. Previous inductees include political consultants David Axelrod, Karl Rove and Lee Atwater, and political commentator James Carville.

Inducted alongside Shrum in 2015 was independent marketing consultant Lionel Sosa, founder of Sosa, Bromley, Aguilar & Associates (now Bromley Communications), the largest Hispanic advertising agency in the United States.

“It’s truly an honor to recognize Robert and Lionel for their extraordinary achievements and contributions to the profession,” said AAPC president Art Hackney. “The Hall of Fame recognitions are my favorite part of the AAPC conference. I always walk away inspired from hearing the stories behind their storied careers.”

Image Description

Robert Shrum (far right) holds his Lifetime Achievement Award from the AAPC. Also pictured, from left, are political consultant Doc Sweitzer, AAPC President Art Hackney, AAPC Chairman Dale Emmons and Shrum’s wife Marylouise Oates.

Shrum’s political career began in the 1970s, when he was hired as speechwriter for then-New York City Mayor John Lindsay. He went on to serve as speechwriter for Sen. McGovern in his 1972 campaign for president. From 1980-84, Shrum served as speechwriter and press secretary to Sen. Kennedy and as consultant, ad maker and strategist for the senator until 2009.

He was a senior adviser to Al Gore’s presidential campaign in 2000, and to John Kerry’s four years later. He was a consultant to the successful campaign of Prime Minister Ehud Barak of Israel in 1999; to the British Labour Party in its 2001 and 2005 parliamentary campaigns; and to winning national campaigns in Ireland in 1997 and 2002.

Shrum has navigated 30 winning campaigns for U.S. Senate and eight winning campaigns for governor. He has advised campaigns for the mayors of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver, Dade County and San Francisco, as well as for the speaker and the Democratic leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Shrum also helped pen the concession speech Sen. Kennedy delivered at the 1980 Democratic National Convention. Many said the powerful speech overshadowed Jimmy Carter’s acceptance of the presidential nomination.

“For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die,” Kennedy’s speech famously concluded.

Shrum joined USC Dornsife in 2014.

“Twice I have been fortunate in my career –– first in those years in politics, and now at USC, to make a living by doing what I love,” Shrum said. “That is a privilege.”