November 15th, 2009
12:53 PM ET
4 years ago

Axelrod slams Romney


(CNN) – A top adviser to President Barack Obama says Mitt Romney should hold his criticism until he knows what he’s talking about.

In a pre-taped interview for Sunday’s :“State of the Union” program on CNN, Obama senior advisor David Axelrod fired back at criticism by Romney that the president was taking too long to decide on whether to send more troops to Afghanistan.

“I know that Gov. Romney has never had responsibility for any decision akin to this, so he just may not be familiar with all that it entails,” Axelrod said of the former Massachusetts governor.

Obama held his eighth meeting with his war council of senior Cabinet and Pentagon officials last week to further consider a request by his commanding general in Afghanistan to send up to 40,000 more troops to bolster the 68,000 already committed.

Axelrod called the deliberation process, which has lasted more than two months, a necessity when considering the lives of American troops involved and the enormous investment by the United States.

He noted that the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who made the troop request, have supported Obama’s decision-making steps so far.

Republicans criticize the president for moving too slowly to supply the troops that McChrystal says are necessary for a successful mission. They accuse Obama of both indecisiveness and playing politics by delaying an answer that may anger his liberal support base.

In a speech last week, Romney complained Obama was making campaign appearances on behalf of fellow Democrats while failing to resolve the Afghanistan troop question. Romney also questioned why Axelrod, whom he described as a political operative, was involved in meetings on Afghanistan.

Axelrod responded that he attends the meetings as an observer so he can communicate to the news media and public what is going on.

“I have not said a word in any of those meetings,” Axelrod said.

He also criticized Romney for unfairly characterizing Obama’s actions.

“Gov. Romney has to choose one argument or another,” Axelrod said. “Either he has to say he (Obama) is not paying attention or he has to say he is taking too long because he has been involved in a rigorous review.”

Obama is taking the time to ensure the right decision is made, Axelrod said. In a dig at the previous Republican administration, Axelrod added: “We've seen in the past what happens when we don't do that; when we don't do the necessary preparations.”

soundoff (308 Responses)
  1. Henry

    OMG, Mitt at it again. The tired old Republican complaining about EVERYTHING that President Obama does. This age of easy information is interesting because it allows these clowns to have equal access to the slobbering media of both sides. Mitt belongs in the same league as Sarah Palin.

    November 15, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  2. Barkatansky

    Axelrod is a coward. So is Obama.

    Taking cheap shots at Mitt Romney is Axelrod being lazy. It's like he's throwing stones a "huge distance" of two feet. Axelrod's a coward. So is Obama.

    There's utterly no reason AT ALL for Axelrod's continued acerbic nastiness. He wouldn't know a proper statement if it bit him, or how to deliver such. Thus, a coward.

    Note his grandiose snottiness about how he opines Romney's never faced such decisions, yet what about Axelrod? I guess in his mind, his grandiosity involves dispatching military might all over the streets of Chicago to "fight the system" or such. Axelrod's a tiny man.

    November 15, 2009 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  3. ran

    True and true-er. Every Republican should shut up and let President Obama do the right thing. These people never said a word when Bush all but abandon Afghanistan for Iraq.

    November 15, 2009 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  4. george

    Republicans need to shut up so they can go back to being the obtrutionist that they so much love to be

    November 15, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  5. Independent

    They are the most anti American, radical, right wing extremist unpatriotic people I have ever seen in my life, Romney should be ashamed of himself

    November 15, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  6. mtovet

    Axel fails to note that Obama ALSO has no prior experience with responsibility – at all. He also ignores the successful result obtained in Iraq. With all this "rigorous review" taking time that McCrystal has said is of the essence in Afghan, one thing is for sure, whatever Obama comes up with at the end of all this better work, work well and work quickly. And he better be VERY clear about what he decides to do, why and how/when it will be accomplished and how we will know it.

    November 15, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  7. victim of republican greed

    While the wingnuts embrace anything negative about Obama, they really need to step back and take a serious look at the stupidity of Mr. Mittens. The former president ignored the generals request and did not send the 20,000 troops requested for 8 months. Obama filled that request in March. Now, the additional cost of sending the 40,000 troops going to cost us over $40 billion; to protect a corrupt muslim regime in Afghanistan. Mitt is being clueless and reckless because Sarah is getting the attention and he is jealous.

    November 15, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  8. Adam

    And this is in comparison to all the vast experience Obama had before getting elected? Obama never ran anything but his mouth and now America is getting what we asked for: A big empty suit.

    November 15, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  9. victim of republican greed

    Maybe the wingnuts should burn Mitt in effigy, too.

    November 15, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  10. diridi

    Romney is a biggest idiot...i told you long time ago....Pakistan is getting every day bombs by Alquida...is it where america goes next....just forget Afganistan, and work to pass health care reform with public option...ok, it is better...idiots like Mitt Romeny, Mitch Mcconnol, Joe lieberman, these are thugs...democrats, listen, pres. obama is doing excellent job....i am unbiased....we need to forget sending more troops because of these idiots like republicans....work on home front...ok...fix passing health care with public option....which cuts down greed by insurance thughs and hospital thughs....ok god bless, the nation the USA!!!

    November 15, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  11. Chamberlain

    I'm a fiscal conservative and I don't see why we should have any troops in Afghanistan. What a waste of American lives, resources and tax-payer dollars!

    The fact is that the American military presence in Afghanistan is infantilizing the Afghani people and taking away their right to self-determine. We have removed a despotic leadership and produced a democratic government in Afghanistan. We have supplied the Afghanis with more than adequate training and supplies to operate independently. The American military presence, at this point, is just preventing the Afghans from doing their job.

    Afghanistan is like our child. We clothed them, nurtured them and sent them to school at great cost and time to us. And now it's time for the child to grow up and become self-sufficient. Instead, we've become the abusive dad that is always punishing and disparaging his child, the net result is that we've made the child feel helpless and weak.

    Nope. At some point we need to let Afghanistan take care of itself. We also need to let them decide their own future. They know what is at stake. If the Taliban or another despot takes over after we leave, then you know, maybe that's the will of the people. And who are we to judge?

    November 15, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  12. thomas, miami

    Politicians who are rushing the president are reckless and irresponsible. Guaranteed not one of them has any family at stake in Iraq or Afghanistan. It's real easy to make quick life and death decisions about other people.

    November 15, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  13. Richie

    The Old White Men party is responsible for the mire we are in. Thank God we now have a president that cares that our young people are being injured and killed on foreign soil. There may not be a good way out at this point, but I trust President Obama to make the absolute best possible choice.

    November 15, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  14. Olivia

    Republicans never know what tthey're talking about.......

    November 15, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  15. Allison30

    Romeney is blabbering on and on just to hear himself talk. Moron.

    November 15, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  16. Kyle

    Just another Republican who thinks what he has to say is gospel......he's a total moron.

    November 15, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  17. Shirl

    Couldn't agree more with Axelrod. Have been trying to figure why is Romney so anxious to put another 40,000 troops in harms way to support what appears to be a corrupt and ineffective government. How come he hasn't considered what is the next step ? I just can't believe Romney would do all this for a bit of cheap publicity to further his cause to be president. At least not with all that is at stake.
    Would someone please enlighten me?

    November 15, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  18. Sheri

    Barkatansky – How are they cowards? You make no sense.

    They answered the "cheap shot" Mittens threw. Mittens isn't involved with the meetings, he doesn't have access to the information the President has, but he feels the need to make a statement? A few days ago there was an article that one of the things Our President insisted on was an EXIT STRATEGY! Unlike the previous Administration who didn't have an issue keeping us there forever! This makes Mitt a petty little man.

    November 15, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  19. Brad

    Politicians, civilian Americans including media talking heads and average Joes should stop pretending to be armchair Generals and trying to tell President Obama what to do about Afganistan. Especially Republicans who seem to be bent on him following some ill gotten advise so they can bask in him making the wrong decisions, as if he should trust them.

    President Obama should only take advise from those who are
    qualified to advise him, and fellow civillians, IT AIN't US.

    In other words, leave it to the military professionals.

    November 15, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  20. Immune to the Rhetoric

    Haha... REALLY??? That's what I was saying all election season long about Obama! HE had never made a decision like this and yet was so vocal about pretending he knew what the heck he was talking about.

    November 15, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  21. Eva from Tampa

    You are correct Mr. Axelrod! We are in this mess because of Romney's party. Is it also despicable how the Republicans are politicizing this war and Ft Hood. President Obama is an amazing leader-and the GOP can't handle it!

    November 15, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  22. desertique

    Mitt is in a perpetual campaign cycle, a professional politician who uses his own wealth and status to attempt to steer the United States of America to continue the military industrial power structure.

    November 15, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  23. W l Jones

    In War an peace a person on a hill do not know what all the hell! going on in the valley! Said enough

    November 15, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  24. good riddance

    So we can rush healthcare and pass a terrible bill by the end of the year, but we can't help our troops on the ground in Afghanistan already by sending more in a timely manner?

    And the "cost" is laughable at best as an excuse. We're talking about a trillion dollar healthcare bill that will cover illegal immigrants, but again we can't help our troops on the ground in a timely manner. Sad day for our troops.

    November 15, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  25. bob smith

    Republicans of today...you are from the poorest states, the most violent states, the most uneducated states, the least happiest states..as just released online this month...there is hardly a category that bodes well for the red states...is it a surprise that they make bad choices. Mitt Romney is another old white man saying the same old thing...you would thing the old white folks would get a clue and understand that they are obsolete in the new america. How many black, asians, hispanics are in the Repub...old white man party.....? It's the old America guys...wake up and grow...

    November 15, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
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