November 4th, 2009
03:56 PM ET
8 years ago

Axelrod calls NY-23 'only national race of consequence'

David Axelrod said the gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia were 'impacted by state issues.'

David Axelrod said the gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia were 'impacted by state issues.'

(CNN) - Top White House aide David Axelrod brushed off Democratic electoral losses in Virginia and New Jersey Wednesday, calling the congressional race in New York's 23rd district the "only national race of consequence."

Axelrod told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that the gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey were "impacted by state issues" and that they were not national races. He said the results of those races should not intimidate moderate Democrats, who he said should focus instead on the election in upstate New York, where a Democrat won the seat for the first time in over 100 years.

"That's the race that most members of Congress are going to look at with interest, and that's the race they should," Axelrod said. "Because the message was, if you embrace the president's agenda… then you will do well and you'll energize voters and you'll get the kind of turnout you need to win your race."

Many Republicans have called the race in NY-23 a unique situation - since the local GOP appointed the nominee instead of conducting a primary, which they say Hoffman would have won - Axelrod called the chaotic contest evidence of an intra-party split.

"What you saw there was I think the future, or the near-term future of the Republican Party, civil war in which the right wing ran the moderates out of the party," Axelrod said. "And they ran right to the Democratic candidate. And I think that has some harbingers for what's to come."

Tune into The Situation Room beginning at 4 pm ET for the rest of Wolf Blitzer's interview with Axelrod.

Filed under: David Axelrod • NY-23
soundoff (102 Responses)
  1. Mobius

    LMAO David, you're sweating. Admit it. Tick, tock, tick, tock.

    November 4, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  2. tee

    Ax is so right.......thats the race that spoke volumes....the repugs are acting like they did something great last night......the dems won two congressional seats.

    November 4, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  3. Mike in LR

    These political spinners (of both parties) are comical. They actually think we're all stupid. This kind of comment insults my intelligence.

    November 4, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  4. mrs b

    Let's hope that Palin continues to campaign for those ultra conservative candidates. She is a gift to the Democratic party who can claim the moderates in the middle and the independent voters.

    November 4, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  5. kas

    One word: JERK

    November 4, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  6. scott michigan

    The Right Wing Extremist represent hypocrisy and Hate. Fortunately most citizens Reject this tÝpe of behavior and world view. One thing they Do Well is Make Noise, all the while stirring Fear and Doubt- which is part of there approach. It does work to some extent. Scare enough people , sow enough doubt by lying outright ect. So the LEFT MUST be noisy too! Stay Active and stay on the side of the people and Progressive thinking and Sow seeds of Hope

    November 4, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  7. ran

    He is right on this and in 2010 and 2012 the Democrats will continue to gain seats because we no longer want the current Republican party of hate/fear/obstructionism/special interest/ government control morality.

    If the republicans want to be relevant in the future they need to stop the fear/hate/obstructionism now and start to do for the people not their far right racist/warmongering/hateful few.

    A new day has come and we will not go back to segregation, power by the few, or have government control our morality.

    Power to the people.

    November 4, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  8. AXH

    Of course you're not going to put any stock in the other races because you know exactly what this signals!

    So how should voters in the other areas take that comment?

    Please, this admin is laughable!

    November 4, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  9. Indiana Voter

    Funny how the losers always try to make excuses. If Democrats had won big yesterday, all of the races would be considered relevant to this White House.

    I'll bet you anything that NY-23 goes back to Republicans again in 2010.

    One thing is for certain though. Conservative and moderate Republicans are not going to let their party be taken over by left wing liberals disguising themselves as Republican, but not promoting anything the Republican party stands for. The "Republican" in this race, was not even a Republican as evidenced by her supporting a Democrat after the people saw the fraud that she was.

    November 4, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  10. Fooled by republicans no more

    Sara Palin's endorsement, Glenbeck, the teabaggers, were all the
    kiss of death for the republicans in NY- 23.

    This was the only race that was of any real importance to the Democrats. And we won the congressional seat.

    The republicans think that electing a republican in a state that is
    traditionally red republican anyway(but turned blue during the national
    election, haha) somehow delivered them a victory. If Virginia wants to
    be ruled by the same republicans who ruined the country no less than
    one year ago, then let them.

    However , the majority of Americans will not be fooled again.

    November 4, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  11. gt

    nice try ,, i guess the president got that answer while watching the bulls game,,,,, give me a break ,,loose virgina and jersey... weak answer..

    November 4, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  12. rachel

    How can they tell such bold face lies. Of course axel would say only the race the dems won has national consequence. This is laughable.

    November 4, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  13. george from alaska

    i agree 100%..and as far as palin...we'll "postpone" our interest in ANYTHING she has to say until...well...never!!!

    November 4, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  14. sifto77

    Why wouldn't he?–his candidate is the only democrat who squeaked through–and we are not really sure why–probably because the republican nominee is a turncoat–the Chicago way won this one. Pretty good turnout for the unknown conservative! onward and upward SP and co.! No split with conservatives–just a democrat masquerading as repub–I am so glad Sara and company called her out!

    November 4, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  15. Jim

    Axelrod is right on. I note that in the above article, Palin thinks the election isn't over, just like she thinks the 2008 election isn't over. It just proves that she doesn't respect the US Constitution nor does she accept the will of the majoity of people in an democratic election. She opens her mouth and shows her ignorance and stupidity every time.

    November 4, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  16. Darko


    To bad Owens is up for re-election next year...and Dede won't be on the ballot to split votes. You guys misjudged and overreached like no other administration. 2010 is coming...

    November 4, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  17. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    Let me bottom line the election results for you neo-cons who think Dems are on the way out.

    Would you have preferred the Dems took 2 governorships and the republiklans pick up 2 voting members of the House that would vote against health reform?

    Or, face reality that, the repubs picked up 2 governorships and the Dems picked up 2 voting member of the House, that ran on supporting health reform and will vote for health refom.

    How was that a Democratic party or President Obama repudiation?


    November 4, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  18. mac

    Alexrod is a very smart man. The civil war within the GOP is gonna leave the party very bloodied in a few months time. Already the ultra-rights are bullying mainstream Republicans to get out of the way. Will the mainstream fight back? Or will they run the other direction? In any event, mainstream and Blue Dog Dems are sure to benefit. For the ultra-rights, it seems to be my way or the highway. We may well see a lot of goofy third-parties spring up if the mainstream GOP prevails. The ultra-rights seem very selfish. The Dems should actively promote this split.

    Or will the mainstreams redefine their base, leaving the rabid right to their foaming-at-the-mouth self-centeredness? That very well might be their only hope...but it will never happen. Or will it?

    November 4, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  19. LacrosseMom

    Axelrod is not making any excuses. The fact is that governors of states do not govern the Nation!

    The REAL WIN yesterday was in the NY-23, were the GOP pushed one Republican candidate out in favor of an extreme-right candidate that "pledged alliance" to Beck!

    NY-23 has not elected a Democrat in 100 years, the fact that yesterday they sent a Democrat to Congress speaks against the GOP tactics that backfired on Palin, Limbaugh & Beck!

    NY-23 told the GOP not to meddle in their business!

    November 4, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  20. Peter

    Virginia obviously was going for McDonnell, so that doesn't matter. New Jersey was a hit though..

    November 4, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  21. LacrosseMom

    PS. NY-23 wont go to the GOP in ...2010..... Congressional seats are up for reelection every ...... 2 years! Duh.

    November 4, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |

    "The congressional race in New York's 23rd district the "only national race of consequence," was it?
    Barack Obama won this district 52%-47% just a few months ago.

    Why didn’t the Democratic Party leadership and the DCCC specifically find someone in the district who could represent better that 52% who voted for Obama.

    Why did they pick out a conservative independent and slap a “D” next to his name instead?

    Why do we now have yet another Blue Dog type in the Democratic Caucus?

    Not enough of them already?

    And why does DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen now want to take a victory lap for this failure of leadership in having nominated Owens, this non-Democrat, in the first place, when he and the other failed Democratic leaders should have nominated a real Democrat?

    November 4, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  23. Conserva-Baggers are bad for America

    Axelrod is absolutely correct. Of course all of the Conserva-Baggers are trying to make mountains out of mole hills because of the results in NJ & VA, but reasonable people realize that's only because they haven't won any kind of election in so long they're giddy with excitement. Silly Conserva-Baggers.

    November 4, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  24. Brian in California

    I have to was the congressional election that was more applicable to the national perceptions, more so than the gubernatorial elections. There are plenty of states that lean more republican or democrat in national elections but have the opposite party as gubernatorial. Look at California and Arizona (before Napolitano left). So governor races really are not barometers for national elections, it's the national level seats that gauge voters' perceptions.

    November 4, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  25. Terry from West Texas

    While last night's elections did nothing to repudiate Obama, they did nothing to endorse him either. Both sides are twisting themselves into knots trying to attach national importance to what were apparently local elections.

    The truth is that a portion of former Obama supporters are becoming disenchanted because Obama did not transform American society. I suppose he could have ordered our troops evacuated from the Middle East, but he would be blamed by those same people for the carnage that would have followed.

    Obama is catching some splatter from the Democratic Congressional leadership – as unimpressive a group of timid mice that has gathered in one room. And, the steady drumbeat of anti-Obama propaganda that is being dished out every hour on the hour by every Conservative mouth in America is confusing some people. I don't know what Obama will do or say at 9:15 AM tomorrow morning, but I do know that by 9:30 AM, the Conservative leadership in Congress will have condemned it as unpatriotic, Rush Limbaugh will announce his grave disappointment in Obama's misbehavior, and Fox News will run a special on the scandal that evening.

    The Conservative opposition is not a loyal opposition. They are willing to harm the nation and its citizens to return to power.

    November 4, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
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