John Del Cecato
John Del Cecato has worked at the highest levels of Democratic politics for two decades.
Since joining David Axelrod’s firm in 2001, Del Cecato has been at the center of the company’s creative work – offering his expertise in message development, speechwriting, earned media strategy, and television and radio ad production to candidates for federal, state and municipal office. Since 2009, he’s continued that tradition alongside business parter Larry Grisolano.
At AKPD Message and Media, Del Cecato helped devise winning media and communications strategies for clients such as former Mayor John Street of Philadelphia, U.S. Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut, U.S. Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, Congressman Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, the AFL-CIO, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s (DCCC) successful campaign to retake the House majority in 2006. His award-winning commercials reflect Axelrod’s patented ad-making style, with rich biographical storytelling, compelling interviews, memorable graphical treatments, unique sound editing, and pitch-perfect response and comparative messaging.
Del Cecato first encountered President Barack Obama at a little-noticed speech the then-State Senator gave in 2002, opposing the war in Iraq. In 2004, he advised the candidate during the Senate Democratic primary, traveling with Obama throughout the state of Illinois. In 2008, Del Cecato worked closely with Axelrod in the areas of communications strategy and message development for the Obama presidential campaign. Most notably, Del Cecato was responsible for writing, directing and producing many of Obama’s nationally broadcast television ads – including several spots that internal research found to be the most effective of the presidential campaign. In 2012, he returned to the Obama campaign, creating many of the Obama re-election campaign’s TV and radio most memorable ads, including the acclaimed “Firms” spot, which featured Republican Mitt Romney singing “America the Beautiful.” In 2013, he crafted the campaign message and television ads for New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, including the celebrated “Dante” spot, which featured de Blasio’s teenaged son.
Before partnering with Axelrod and David Plouffe, Del Cecato served as communications director for New York City mayoral candidate Fernando Ferrer. He was the DCCC’s national spokesman in the 1999-2000 election cycle, a period in which Plouffe served as the committee’s executive director.
Del Cecato was Iowa Democratic Party communications director during Tom Vilsack’s (D-IA) historic 1998 gubernatorial campaign, and he served as press secretary to U.S. Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) during the congressman’s first term. Del Cecato cut his political teeth as an intern to then-House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-MO), serving as part of the Gephardt team for seven years.
Del Cecato graduated with honors from Northwestern University, majoring in communications and political science. He has lectured on the political process at the University of Virginia, George Washington University, Columbia University, Hunter College, ESADE (Madrid), and his alma mater NU. Del Cecato has appeared on FOX News, C-Span and CNN’s Inside Politics, and co-hosted FOX 5 New York’s coverage of the 44th Presidential Inauguration in 2009. More recently, he was a featured guest of the French American Foundation’s week-long “Campaign Tour” in Paris, speaking before audiences of elected officials and leading party strategists.