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. Dave

    Liberals on this site are hilarious. Sorry for all of you miserable folks who can't admit your glory days are coming to an end without much of anything being accomplished. Bye bye socialist agendas.

    November 4, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  2. LPLT

    Sarah Palin–the gift that keeps on giving. I hope she campaigns for all the ultra-right wing loonies. The Democratic party will be thanking her.

    The first Democrat since the days of Ulysses S. Grant in this district is nothing to sneeze about, and we have Palin et al to thank.

    November 4, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  3. republicans hate america

    i will be at the polls in 2012 to vote for obama AGAIN

    November 4, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  4. Hank from Seattle

    > The PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN, Obama's days in office are numbered.

    Yep, only 2,646 left until the end of his second term. Which the GOP seem hell-bent on handing to him by acting like children. Enjoy the view from the back seat while the grownups drive.

    November 4, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  5. Please stopr censoring...thx S Callahan

    Ugh....David you know I think your the man...but your wrong on this...the change the public is calling on now has nothing to do with President Obama....this is personal....reps that was elected to serve their constituints are not giving fair representation and people are really man about's going to be a storm for the Senate and Congress come 2010.

    Thanks New York.....
    RIP Claude Levi Strauss!!!

    November 4, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  6. Scott, Tucson

    Had the dem's won in Virgina and New jersey last night, Axlerod and obama would have been calling it a referendum for obama's policies but since it didn't go the way they wanted it too, they're now making lame excuses.

    Just can't wait for 2010 to see more of these leftis democrats removed from office.

    November 4, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  7. Ha, Ha, Ha ,Ha ,Ha..........

    Alexrod is now a total joke........99 out of 100 people can't find NY 23 but they all know where New Jersey and Virginia are....

    November 4, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  8. chad in seattle, wa.

    the republicants have the right to celebrate thier gov. wins.
    its too bad govs dont have national votes though.
    so axelrod is right.
    the repulicans won bragging rights but the dems won votes.
    what is more important?

    November 4, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "Be prepared for a 48- or 49- state victory by Obama in 2012!

    Arizona, Texas and Alaska will be the the only Republican States left Standing!"

    If you're going to mimic me, fake sniffit, at least get the math right you LImbaugh worshipping dittohead.

    November 4, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  10. New Age Independent

    ROFL, the Democrats are flailing miserably at trying to make this look like the Gov races were meaningless. If that were the case, why did they spend so much time and money there? Why did Obama drop everything in order to campaign for Democrats? Face it, it was a huge blow.

    November 4, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  11. Vic

    More people voted against the democrat than for him.

    November 4, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  12. Rob

    When you lose as badly as the Republicans have the past 2 elections, you pretty much have nowhere to go but up. But as many people have said, there really was no surprise in either VA or NJ. And I don't think Obama, Bill Clinton, or FDR rising from the grave, could have helped either candidate. As President and de facto leader of the party, Obama had an obligiation to campaign for these guys, but he knew that both guys were probably going to lose.

    Seeing these results will probably put more pressure now on David Patterson of NY to not seek re-election.

    It's just funny to watch the Republicans going around saying that the tide is's not...if anything the NY-23 race showed that the big names in the Republican party continue to turn off most voters and that they will need to move back toward the center if they want to stay relevant. They need to do a major house cleaning and get rid of the likes of Palin, Armey, Pawlenty, Fred Thompson, Joe You Lie Wilson, etc. Let them form a new party called the SuperUltraNeoCons and elect Limbaugh and Beck as their leaders. THEN, and only then will the Republican party gain more support when they expunge themselves of the far right.

    November 4, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  13. karl

    A total of about 100,000 votes is "of national importance" while the gubernatorial races that reached, what, 2 million each is "local politics"? Then why did President Obama spend so much time on the stump for the democratic candidates for governor and so little on NY-23?

    November 4, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  14. We Won Get Over It

    And most people think he is correct. Governors win and loose because of local issues. And the impact of those races shouldn't make that much difference. Of course republicans are going to crow.

    But look after bush took the white house over in 2000 in the following governor races..democrats won Virginia and New Jersey. That didn't make a difference in any of the next races any way.

    What is outstanding about the NY23 race is this, there were more real republicans in that district than democrats. So because the rabid violent hate group that tried to push the real republican out, drove them to the democrat.

    Since that is the only way they operate, they hate, they slur, they scream and the rant people are being turned off. The only ones who subscribe to that type of rheotic are the ones who are the same as they are at heart. Keep it up nutsos so called conservatives, we'll take your voters anytime.

    November 4, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  15. Obama fan...not!

    Nice try buddy

    November 4, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  16. KTX

    Once again, the message from the Obama Administration: "Let them eat cake!!!"

    . . .and we all thought Bush II was arrogant. . .!

    November 4, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  17. Dennis

    I guess losing the governorship of a populated largely Democrat state is of no consequence. The only reason the D's won NY-23 was because the Republicans screwed around and split the vote. Owens will not get re-elected in this district.

    November 4, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  18. Right Leaning Independent

    Axelrod is delusional!! Find your medicine as fast as possible!! If the Dems keep their heads in the sand, they are headed for a massive defeat in 2010!!!

    November 4, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  19. worriedmom

    Mr. Axelrod, if it wasn't so important why did Obama go at least 4 times for NJ and twice for Virginia. Also once you guys learned that Va. was gonna go Red, you were devising ways to not blame Obama for it. Talk to some people in Virginia whether they think Obama had anything to do with it. Bet you will get an earful!! You betcha!
    Now just go back to Obamaland where there is world peace and the world loves you!

    November 4, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  20. Matthew

    That's because Alexrod is an idiot.

    (He'll be in prison within 10 years for all the corruption he's introduced into the White Housle)

    November 4, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  21. Emmanuel Goldstein

    Nice spin. Yankees could use a fresh starter. With that slider, you can take the mound.

    NY-23 was a soap opera, but look at what happened. A seat that was open was almost won by a 3rd party candidate that was an afterthought two weeks ago. A dem won only because (1) he is more conservative than the republican who dropped out, (2) the opposition parties mounted no effective challenge, and (3) the two major parties aligned against the interloper. Had there been a primary, and Hoffman had the GOP support, I am not so sure Axelrod would be singing the same tune. Rather, he'd be calling voters in upstate NY racist.

    November 4, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  22. bess

    it's called "SPIN" for a reason.

    November 4, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  23. JD

    Axelrod must be getting dizzy with all that spin.

    Wait until 2010, Axelrod. Then let's see you spin the groundswell of antipathy toward the socialist policies of the administration you support.

    I'm sure you'll try to use the same spin in 2010 and in 2012 when 0bama and his fellow socialists are swept clean out of office.

    November 4, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  24. German,Irish American

    Axelrod and the media are trying to paint Scozzafava as a moderate, when in fact she was more liberal than many Democrats, supports stimulus, ACORN backing, favors card check, favors cap and trade, quits and supports the DEMOCRAT opponent. For an unknown newcomer who never ran for office before, to lose ONLY by 3% to a Democrat funded, and heavily backed by the Obama spin team speaks volumes. By the way Obama apologists, how come I don't hear you screaming on these blogs about Scozzafava being a quitter?

    November 4, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  25. Andrew

    Axelrod is Obama's Karl Rove – yet he doesn't get the same press. He's nothing but a shady spinster.

    The NY-23 really doesn't mean anything. One race is not indicative of much – it was just heavily reported on. Even if they had won there – Republicans shouldn't be too excited.

    2010 will be a better indicator. The only thing to take away from the race is the rise of third party candidates. People seem open to REAL change.

    November 4, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
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