March 14th, 2010
02:51 PM ET
3 years ago

Axelrod urges 'discount' of reports of tension with Emanuel

'We are a tight group,' Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said of the president's inner circle.
'We are a tight group,' Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said of the president's inner circle.

Washington (CNN) – Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said Sunday that there’s nothing to recent reports of tension between himself and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Related video: Axelrod on Emanuel

“These stories are what Washington does,” Axelrod, a former Chicago Tribune reporter, said in an interview that aired on CNN’s State of the Union. “When people think there are political challenges, then the ‘palace intrigue’ stories get written and so on. We are a tight group. We are all committed to the same thing and I would discount those stories.”

On a more personal note, Axelrod also spoke favorably of Emanuel, who has a reputation for sometimes being rough around the edges in his political dealings with allies and foes.

“[H]e is a close personal friend of mine and I have enormous respect for him. He is a tremendous asset to this administration. I think he has been incredibly faithful to the vision of the president and many of the things we achieved, we would not have achieved without his leadership,” Axelrod told CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

Recent reports in both the New York Times and the Washington Post have suggested that Obama’s inner circle, which ran a near flawless campaign, is now struggling in the task of governing because of the tension between Obama’s trademark idealism, shaped by Axelrod into a campaign narrative, and Emanuel’s hard-nosed political pragmatism.

According to these reports, the administration’s penchant for large, ambitious, more idealistic initiatives has won out in the past year over Emanuel’s internal push for smaller, relatively more doable, and more pragmatic legislative approaches. As a result, these reports suggest, Democrats would be in a better position to make their case to voters in November, during what is shaping up to be a midterm election year characterized by anti-incumbent, anti-Washington sentiment.

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soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. It's time for another change!

    The Democrat party is in complete disarray. No wonder, when their leadership is exploring ways to pass legislation without a vote!

    Rep. Eric Cantor, D-Va "The alarming thing that I'm hearing now is that (House) Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi is thinking about bending the rules and, frankly, making it so there's not a direct vote on the Senate health care bill"

    March 14, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  2. Mike C

    Dems had a majority and could have passed any bill they wanted. Blame them not the GOP.

    Now, would someone please ask Obama why the gas prices are going up. Is he helping the evil "BIG OIL" compnies make money???

    Also, why did Obama's administration extend the SAME Patriot Act rules that President Bush did? How come you arent beating him down for this?

    Also, why isn't GITMO closed yet?

    Also why can't he hold the KSM trial in NY?

    March 14, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  3. catmomtx

    Nothing more than fear, scare and smear tactics Republicans love to use. They are pulling out all stops to destroy this administration and the media is going right along with it.

    The Republicans are so afraid of Obama succeeding that they are losing it. Every day they come out with one thing or another in an attempt to undermine this administration. Sadly though, what they haven't come up with is an alternative plan to help move this country forward or a way they can work with the President rather than against him..

    March 14, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  4. Benny in IL

    Obama is shady. It makes sense the people around him would be too.

    March 14, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  5. jp,michigan

    What is Axelrod smoking, to think passing this health-care bill help them ( White House) in November. The anger of the American people willl be seen and heard now and in November. It will be time to remove those who forced this type of bill on the American people. We need helath care reform, but Obama and the democratic party kind of reform.

    March 14, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  6. Charlie in Maine

    Oh wait I've seen this one before: It is the one where the Republicans try to take the focus of their own dysfuntion by diverting attention to a fued within the WH staff. If this country is smart (and I pray we are) we won't let them get ine extra vote in congress. There are a few Dem decoys out there too that should be replaced.

    March 14, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  7. Jim

    The year isn't over yet. While Republicans have been trying to slow everything down and have been in campaign mode all year, the President has been actually working on America's problems. I would expect that when the President goes into campaign mode he is going to show America that not only are most of the problems we face due to past Republican governance, the Republicans are also trying to stop us from fixing them.

    March 14, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    oh goody .... I love when this happens.

    March 14, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  9. larry

    this is the anti Obama story of the day. Cnn just can't help it.

    March 14, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  10. jd

    Aren't all you hope and change, yes we can growing up yet? You got caught up in a movie. Now the stars have gone back to their mansions and all that is left is the life you struggle to manage that caused you to run to the movies. Take some time. Focus on your future and the you'll be fine. And if you have posted on these sites more than 100 times this week. Seek help. Your not an activist. Your lost.

    March 14, 2010 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  11. Annie, Atlanta

    It would not surprise me if this started as a rumor in the right wing blogs, then picked up by media as fact for the ratings a little mud slinging would get them. Either way, if they're not making nice in the White House, what does it really matter in the whole scheme of things? But ratings, that's a whole other story.

    March 14, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  12. Lib

    Good Try Republicans. You're getting more and more disgusting by the minute.

    March 14, 2010 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  13. zonk3907840

    How do you like the Change Now????...Looks like a BIG Bad MESS to me....Where are the Jobs?????

    March 14, 2010 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  14. Jay

    Alexrod comes across as squirming every time I see him on camera. He needs to go. Rahm isn't as competent in his job as folks foretasted he would be.

    March 14, 2010 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  15. jim

    Lotta republican posters on here who think they know something, but, yet again, all they spew is rumor, innuendo, and gross exaggeration.

    good thing the majority saw through their foolishness and voted most of them out in 2008.

    March 14, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  16. Jerry

    These two guys are nothing but the car sales types, we own GM so send them there. So sorry I forgot they are trying to get their union buddies even more pay back with heath care favors and kick backs. The most corrupt president ever, this guy makes Nixon look like a day in the park.

    March 14, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  17. Patrick

    As i have heard in sports terms – you dance with the one who "brung" you.

    If anything about this feud is true, maybe Rahm should think about that.

    March 14, 2010 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  18. Ramses

    What's the big deal. There always will be agreements & disagreements. It is a family(Capitol) fued. News media blows it up, spices it up and make it sensational. Keep cool, most things get resolved. This is the way of life. Don't make it a big deal.

    March 14, 2010 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  19. Monkey wrench

    Yes, libbers Rahm is the man, yes we can! What a complete and utter failure so far....

    The economy is totally in the crapper, our deficit is out of control to the point of no return, unemployment remains at an all time high and what do the Democrats continue to do? Healthcare entitlement, spend, spend and spend!

    March 14, 2010 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  20. Lili, FL

    WH is #1 friend to the GOP...

    March 14, 2010 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  21. Ken

    This was predictable. No institution takes such a chance on an inexperienced executive – not Congress, not the military, not a Corporation, not even a small company, let alone the Chief Executive of the United States. This mistake and all its consequences continue....

    March 14, 2010 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
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