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. Long form birth certificate

    Yup, it's starting to work. I just got laid off. I guess Obama and his wife could skip a night out on the town and that would cover my wages for a year.

    June 7, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  2. Steve Lyone

    The stimulus money could have been better spent by sending every taxPAYing family a check for $75,000.00 dollars and let us spend it, or save it to pay our taxes with.........

    June 7, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  3. makesUwonder

    Of course the stimulus money is starting to work Mr. Axelrod. Just keep telling yourself that and you might just begin to believe it.

    June 7, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  4. B

    With all due respect, if you were just laid off, then why am I seeing your flames on every story? Shouldn't you be spending your efforts on the job hunt?

    I would think if you spent more time listening and absorbing the context versus spinning these stories to fit your political ideals, you could have an honest political discussion.

    June 7, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  5. alvino

    The "Swift Boaters against reasonable priced health care" are out in full force again today.

    June 7, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  6. alvino

    Me, me, me. 'It's all about me,' is the rallying cry of the paty of "NO!"

    It will take several months for the unemployment numbers to catch up with the other positive economic indicators, and until then, "Long form . . ." will be able to draw unemployment.

    June 7, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  7. Proud DHS radical

    I wonder how that stimulus money is working out for all the soon to be unemployed GM dealership employees? Maybe they can find jobs with ACORN?

    June 7, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  8. alvino

    It has to be hard for the party of "NO!" to accept the recent upturn in the market and the recent positive economic indicators. Evidently, Fox news is not fair and balanced after all.

    June 7, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  9. ib

    It is working; just watch how the dollar is dropping like a rock and high inflation is taking over. By the way; who are the liberals going to blame the soaring gas prices on now?? Oh I know it's still Bush's fault.

    June 7, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  10. alvino

    Proud DHS radical-

    If it had been done your way, GM would have been destroyed by bankruptcy in December, and no jobs would have been saved. Isn't that what you right wing nuts wanted way back then?

    At least some jobs have been saved, thanks to the Democrats.

    June 7, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  11. alvino

    High gas prices? Been there last summer.

    That is why it is important to have a stimulus that can help with energy alternatives to mid east oil.

    June 7, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  12. TCM

    What a liar! April's numbers are showing that people are reducing their personal debt, and stashing away cash instead of spending. Now, little if any, of the stimulus money has been doled out, and since OBama's been in office the long term interest rates on that money has doubled! AXLEROD's LYING! Americans are personally paying down their debt and saving out of concern that the government is full of incompetents and don't know what they're doing. Despite their love for waffle, the liberals are following suite..they aren't buying, they're paying their debt and saving....it shows a turn against OBama...say what you want libs, the tide will turn and you'll help when obama starts reaching in your wallet!

    June 7, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  13. DaBird

    Why has so little of the money been spent David? I'll tell you why. Obama is waiting to spend it so the economy turns around during voting for the next election or in 2012. Attn sheep: Obama doesn't care if you have a job. Where are ALL those infrastructure jobs???

    June 7, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  14. Have no fear Rev. Wright is here

    What 150,002 jobs now, great now i feel more confident..

    June 7, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  15. Dan, TX

    I believe this guy is in a fantasy-land. So is Barack Obama. One in six Americans are working for Government now. We are a socialist country. Thanks to radical Barack and his administration.

    June 7, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  16. Ted Tartaglia

    The party of No started the stimulus program and now they are begrudging its success. What is it about the Republican thinking process that turns success into failure and failure into success? Obama's policies are driving the country to ruin and Bush's policies were successful and did not shift debt to future generations, in a pig's eye. It is no wonder nobody wants to admit to being a Republican. Total idiots are not needed in today's world. Isn't it fun watching the Republicans self-destruct?

    June 7, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  17. StudentinTexas

    I for one have benefitted...I do not have to work two jobs because I got Pell Grant for a year. This has allowed me to leave one of two jobs. Now someone else can get that job and provide for their family. I can go to school, concentrate on getting good grades and work one job. I now have a small garden at the back of my home and this has allow me to save more money so I can purchase the stuff my family needs. More money spending now. Soon I can complete my college education and contribute to society. Thank you.

    June 7, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  18. Post always rejected by CNN

    I have a big question that none of the republicans have the guts to answer, could anybody else.

    Before the democrats started handling the distribution of THEIR stimulus to bring the country back from the mess Obama and they found it, "WHAT HAPPENED TO THE 700 BILLION DOLLARS THAT BUSH AND HIS REPUBLICAN CONGRESS DOLED OUT TO GOODNESS KNOWS WHO".

    The republicans would not tell us who or for what they gave this 700Billion dollars. I am still waiting for an explanation. Because YOU KNOW LIKE. YOU KNOW all the republicans are whinning and moaning and messing their shorts about the stimulus package that is being distributed and ACCOUNTED for.

    June 7, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  19. buckwheat

    Must be on another planet. It would have gotten better if this bunch had not chosen to break the treasury. They should be investigating ACORN and all the money taxpayers have paid these secret society members. 'Even the ones who have jumped ship say they need an audit. The mob usually do not have audits.

    June 7, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  20. buckwheat

    GM is history as much as I hate to see this company go if there is not some kind of miracle. Blame Obama. Take the ACORN money and give it to now what is Government Motors.

    June 7, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  21. buckwheat

    You would not have had to send the 75000 to but half the people because tha tis alll that have ever worked.

    June 7, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  22. Mich

    ACCORN : Hiding federal money from stimulus
    JOBS : Created 150,000 with stimulus package.
    JOBS : Lost this month over twice as many that was created.
    DOLLOR : Value going down over the whole world.
    GAS : Price of gas heading to 4.00 dollors a gallon.
    JOBS : Still being outsorced to other countries.
    Housing : Homes still being lost to banks.
    BONDS : Still on the way down to new lows.
    TAXS : Federal goverment gave tax break. Over 12 states trying to raise taxs on it's people. Their goes that tax break.


    Obama and his people still talking to the dum down american people.

    June 7, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  23. Hey Axel head.....

    what planet are you on?

    Unemployment just rose to 9.4% and people are losing their jobs and houses on a daily basis.

    Take a walk outside the White House someday and see what's going on.

    All you and Obama do is spend our money....you've fixed nothing.

    June 7, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  24. Lori

    Job losses from last month are down and the Republicans are running scared. They were praying for more job losses and more American suffering so that they could TRY to get reelected in 2010 and 2012. Americans are not that stupid, GOP. Your leadership caused the crisis, you have NO policies that would suggest that we would be at a surplus if your political party was in power in fact your budget still had us at a deficit in the trillions as well (except many Americans would not have benefited from what was in your budget). With our President's policies, he is trying to invest in rebuilding America (not Iraq). GOP politicans-stop complaining and come up with viable solutions or at least propose some that would actually work. Do what we're paying you to do. WORK!!!

    June 7, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  25. Have no fear Rev. Wright is here

    Post always rejected by cnn, it was only 350 billion given away by bush and 350 billion given away by obama.

    June 7, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
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