June 7th, 2009
10:35 AM ET
9 years ago

Axelrod: Stimulus package starting to work

Obama senior adviser David Axelrod discussed the economy and health care reform in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN's State of the Union.

Obama senior adviser David Axelrod discussed the economy and health care reform in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN's State of the Union.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama's $787 billion stimulus package is beginning to work, his senior adviser told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.

David Axelrod cited the latest unemployment figures that showed the rate of new job losses slowing.

Although those figures showed the overall unemployment rate at a 26-year high, Axelrod said the stimulus money takes time to infiltrate the economy.

"Hopefully that is a sign that this is turning," Axelrod said. "It feels as if we're moving, and the stimulus package now is not nearly done, it's just really at its beginnings."

In a wide-ranging interview with CNN's John King, Axelrod also said Obama believes that capping tax deductions for high-income Americans is the best way to help offset the cost of expanding national health care.

An estimated 45 million Americans lack health insurance, and Congress is drafting plans for health care reform. Democrats and Republicans are sharply divided on both how to pay for it and how large a role the government should play.

Obama campaigned on the concept of high-income Americans paying more taxes to address needed spending. Axelrod said the president is pushing that idea with congressional leaders for health care reform.

Obama is "not foreclosing on anything," but told the legislators "'I really think my idea is best,'" Axelrod said.

Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, who heads the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee, is circulating a proposed bill that includes a government-run insurance option to give all American access to health care benefits.

Republicans have developed their own proposals that emphasize choice. GOP leaders oppose any bill that offers a government-run option.

Axelrod said the bottom line is bringing down the cost of health care.

"If we do that and make it affordable, people are going to buy it, mandate or no mandate," he said. "People want health care."

Speaking from Paris after accompanying Obama on his trip to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Germany and France, Axelrod also said the president's Cairo speech candidly stated the truth about the U.S. reaction to the Sept. 11 terror attacks in order to "clear away the debris" in international relations - not to criticize his predecessor.

In the June 4 speech, Obama called the Iraq conflict a war of choice, and said the response to the Sept. 11 attacks caused the United States to act contrary to its traditions and ideals – a reference to controversial interrogation techniques such as waterboarding. Both comments referred to policies of former President George W. Bush.

Obama also used the speech to call on Israel and the Palestinians to fulfill their negotiated obligations in seeking peace, and for the Muslim world to reject extremists who sow terror.

"You can't be candid about other people's actions and responsibilities and not your own," Axelrod said. "It wasn't meant to criticize any one person. It was meant to … discuss in an open and honest way where we've been in order to, as I've said, clear away the debris so we can move forward."

Filed under: David Axelrod • Economy • Health care • State of the Union
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Joanna

    Yes it is work! How do you like the dems now GOP. In your face. Just think if a Republican were in the white house. We would all be standing in line for soup right now!

    June 7, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  2. Kevin B

    Mr Axelrod is correct The GOP did its best to destroy the armerican dream with tax cuts for the wealthy while conducting two wars. (which is unprecedented.)

    Because of the stimulus the stock market is posting gains, job losses are slowing and many jobs are being preserved in spite of the horrible set of circumstances inherited by the Obama adminstration.

    Only the GOP and Al Queda will see some thing negative in america's economic revival

    June 7, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  3. Mike

    The Republicans want all jobs to go out the country and want all car to be imported, I have yet to hear one Republican mention all the jobs going to China or some other low wage country.

    June 7, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  4. Bob

    Some of you apparently don't know much about economics. It is WAY to soon to tell if the package is going to work or not, regardless of early indications. There are many other factors that could be leading to these indicators, but of COURSE the President's advisor will not say that. 🙂

    Give it a year, THEN we'll talk. We'll either know that it's working, or we'll know that we've made a pretty significant mistake and it's going to be a hell of a thing to turn back. I give it a 50/50 chance, but I'm hoping for a recovery.

    Again, it's a long journey, folks, and we simply do NOT have the information we need to determine if this is working or not. What IS amusing is that so many Dems that would NEVER believe information from Bush's advisors NOW of course accept Obama's advisor's word as gospel from on high. That's pretty funny. Sad, but funny. TRY LEARNING SOMETHING ABOUT ECONOMICS AND THE WAY THINGS WORK RATHER THAN JUST BEING A GROUPIE!!!!

    June 7, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  5. Leslie

    Axelrod and the rest of Hussein administration are mentally deranged. Unemployment is now 9.4%. The Porkulus bill is only working for Hussein and his people, they're using the money for campaign trips. Summer job is TEMPORARY,

    My neighbors are being laid off from their job left and right, some are now going on welfare so they can get food stamps, some are thrown out of their apartment, they can't afford to pay the rent anymore. Two of my friends lose their house, foreclosed by the bank, they can't afford to pay their mortgage anymore. Yesterday, my neighbor's car was towed (repo man) she can't afford the monthly payment.

    How's that hope and change workin' fer ya?

    June 7, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  6. Leslie

    "JOB LOSSES SLOWING DOWN" – plain common sense. It is slowing down due to the FACT, majority of Americans are already out of work, those who are still working are worried they would be the next to go. Businesses are closing their doors. Over 12 million Americans now are OUT OF WORK, they were laid off. Check the long lines at the welfare office, people applying for help for the first time, check long lines at Food Bank, what used to be single line now is up to three lines. It is heartbreaking to see hardworking Americans OUT OF WORK.

    June 7, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  7. Joe Student

    The stimulus was all about timing. The recession is bottoming out, and will probably start to upswing by the end of the year. All this would have happened without the stimulus. All the stimulus did was give America an excuse to put money toward the Department of Transportation (which they should be doing anyway) so they could do what they needed to do years ago: rebuild bridges, roads, and rail lines. All the other pork that was in the bill was just a way for the progressive democrats, like Speaker Pelosi, to get their agenda across. The unfortunate part is all this pork will always overshadow the few billion dollars America needed in infrastructure.

    As for all this talk about government socialism, maybe it is warranted. But, I have to think about countries like Switzerland, Luxomberg, and the Netherlands where they have close to 45% percent of private entities controlled, owned, or directly influenced by the government. Granted, smaller countries, but are they ever in the news?

    For the GM issue, just ask yourself this:
    "If the government let GM declare bankruptcy on their own and perhaps go out of business, wouldn't there be more outrage from the public for the government letting an "American" icon fail?"

    June 7, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  8. Dawn in Pa

    Bunch of haters here... They said the unemployment is at the same level as it was 26 years ago, and that was under the late President Reagan, it took him a long time until the people were getting employment.

    Another thing, does anyone know when our businesses started to go overseas, this is not a trick question, it is for my information

    June 7, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  9. larry

    It took us decades to get in this mess, it will certainly take some time to get us out. And of course, all the members of the "party of NO" will fabricate their lame criticism like the armchair quarterbacks that they are. They had 8 years of destruction that they reaped on this country and now they think anyone with a brain will listen to them? Face it, the GOP is a sad sad group of has beens.
    I have confidence in the Obama administration. They got my vote and they have my support. America is moving forward again, what a good feeling to see it start to repair itself.

    June 7, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  10. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    What jobs created by the package pay more than $10.00/hour? Few!

    When Obama told businesses not to travel to Las Vegas "on the taxpayers dime", lost jobs galore, lost business and revenue to the city, MILLION$!!! This is not stimulating anything, and yet...NO apology for that either. When he came here to stump for Sen Reid...Didn't mention it. We're still waiting.

    And in Detroit....Well, we all know about that.

    Just listen to the song "Shutting Detroit down" by John Rich..It's TRUE!!! And it's an American anthem. He really knows what a disaster is going on there!

    June 7, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  11. German,Irish American

    Remember when Obama said that if the unread "stimulus" bill wasn't passed, unemployment would reach 8.5%? That number would look pretty good now, compared to the Obama caused current rate of 9.4%. Can you imagine what the media and liberals would say if job losses were"ONLY" 350,000 during the peak summer months if Bush were President? How about the rising gas prices? Obama also said during the campaign that he didn't think $4 gas was out of line. Is he now letting oil prices rise so Bush/Cheny and their big oil buddies can get richer?

    June 7, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  12. Claudia in Houson

    Never thought it wouldn't work but what would not have worked was to do nothing as the Republicans suggested. Thank you Mr. President.

    June 7, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  13. Ed

    I see no indication anywhere that the "stimulus" is working in any other way than to line the pockets of political contributors.

    June 7, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  14. Donna from Colorado Springs

    The economy is starting to show small signs of progress and that terrifies Republicans. They want nothing more than to have the economy tanking for many years so they can say that Limbaugh was right! They are pathetic! They are so afraid that the president did the right thing with the stimulus money, and that they will be proven wrong with all their insane attacks and predictions of doom. I just love it!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 7, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  15. jpam

    if the govt had just let GM fail and file bankruptcy the out cry from the rebubs would be heard in anartica, not to mention the american people. the repubs would have cried that P-obama let capitalism fail.
    he let the auto industry down.
    now they cry that govt shouldn't have intervened. pretty soon they will be saying the sun should set in the east.

    June 7, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
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