July 29th, 2010
06:26 PM ET
8 years ago

Axelrod to Democrats: Blame the GOP

'We're not interested in re-litigating the past but we don't want to relive it either,' Senior White House adviser David Axelrod said after a meeting with Senate Democrats on Thursday.

'We're not interested in re-litigating the past but we don't want to relive it either,' Senior White House adviser David Axelrod said after a meeting with Senate Democrats on Thursday.

Washington (CNN) - Senior White House adviser David Axelrod told Democratic senators behind closed doors on Thursday that if they want to win re-election they need to go on offense and stress to voters that it's Republicans who are to blame for the economic mess the country is in today.

"We're not interested in re-litigating the past but we don't want to relive it either," Axelrod said after the closed-door strategy session with Senate Democrats in the Capitol. "People need to know that when they cast that Republican vote they're casting that vote for those same discredited policies that punished the middle class and created this crisis in the first place."

A senior administration official added to CNN that President Obama will be "ramping up" his personal campaign schedule in a major way in September in order to make that very case, that his administration is moving the country forward after passage of key parts of his agenda - including the stimulus package, health care reform, and Wall Street reform.

But retiring Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Indiana) said some of his colleagues told Axelrod at the private meeting that it's a "tough environment" in which many voters have such negative feelings about the direction of the country that it's hard to break though and get credit for some of the President's accomplishments.

"The feeling was expressed that people aren't listening to any of this," said Bayh. "Any positive message we have people aren't prepared to listen to it. They don't believe any of it. So in an environment like that the best thing to do is go on the offense against the other side."

Axelrod acknowledged the slow pace of the economic recovery "creates a difficult political environment" for Democrats running to maintain their majorities in Congress, but he counseled that over time the party will get credit for making tough decisions.

"Though we weren't responsible for digging the hole, we're responsible for solving the problems and it's going to take a longer time than people would like," Axelrod said after the private session, which also included Democratic strategists Paul Begala and Stephanie Cutter.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) noted that voters in his state have three former Republican lawmakers running for office this fall: Former Rep. Rob Portman for Senate, former Rep. John Kasich for governor, and former Sen. Mike DeWine for attorney general.

Brown said the former lawmakers "are asking voters for the car keys…after running the economy into the ditch. I think the election is that contrast. Do you want to go back to that or do you want to go forward?"
Brown argued that comparisons to the 1994 wave that swept the GOP into power in the House don't hold up this election season because Republicans are much less popular today then they were then.
"Democrats are a lot more optimistic than the pundits and what the Republicans are crowing about," Brown said.

Filed under: David Axelrod • Democrats • President Obama
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. Jake Mc

    I'm not even a Dem and I have to agree for the most part with this. I'm a moderate/Independent, not it matters, but I won't be voting for Repub. any time soon. We have a long way to dig from the damage they did and how any one in any party could let that go is a big fool. With you this, Dems!

    July 29, 2010 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  2. Four and The Door

    Democrats are in a bad situation. They got everything they wanted and promised all would be well if they got it, so they have basically been their own worst enemies to discredit their ideas about what works. The problem is they have no new ideas. Their only solution? Negative campaigning...the kind that got them into office in 2008.

    The Republican economic ideas have always had better performance than what the Obama/ Pelosi/ Reid team have been able to show with their expenditure of trillions of tax dollars. Remember, the current recession is a result of a Democratic controlled congress. So how in the world did anyone expect them to know how to fix it?

    July 29, 2010 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  3. democrat turned conservative independent

    So let me get this straight..............the dems pass all of these bills that are supposed to be so great, and yet there only platform for re-election is to blame bush and republicans? That means one of two things, either the bills they passed weren't so great and the majority of america did not want them, or the majority of the bills they passed weren't so great and the majority of america did not want them. I used to have great respect for the democratic leaders, but after Rangel, and Pelosi, and Reid, and Obama, it makes me sick to hear them talk.

    July 29, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  4. Bassman

    Sounds like talking points from JournoLists. Our media has ignored the scandal. Journolist were a group of liberal bloggers, and members of the MSM that coordinated attacks against Sarah Palin in order to destroy her. They formed talking points that the MSM would pick up on.

    July 29, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  5. Yossi Gestetner

    few sane pp will think that 17 months after the Stimulus, 18 months since Obama has the WH, and 42 months since Dems have control of Congress, that anything going on in this country – mostly on the economic front which should have been great by now after all those Obama/Dem bills – has ANYTHING to do with Repubs!

    What a Mouth Piece...

    July 29, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  6. Becoming political thanks to this administration

    How pathetic. Our country is floundering and all this administration can do is look backwards. God knows what else the next administration will be able to blame on this failure.

    July 29, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  7. America's Leadership: The-New-Three-Stooges: Obama, Pelosi, & Reid

    Quite unbelieveable! OBOZO in office TWO YEARS and DemocRATS control Congress for FOUR YEARS and all they have to say about their lack of accomplishments is "Blame it on Republicans"???!!! I guess they FINALLY figured out people weren't buying the "Blame it on Bush" BS.

    Can the American people be stupid enough to fall for it 3 elections in a row? Polls are sure saying, NO WAY! Fact is, the DemocRATS/Progressives/Communists/radicals just DON'T HAVE A CLUE and their failing policies prove it, every day.

    July 29, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  8. 8 Years of having a drunken driver at the wheel put America in the ditch, why would working Americans return the keys to the crowd drinking at the same bar?

    "We're not interested in re-litigating the past but we don't want to relive it either,"

    Can it get an Amen from some of you 'christians"?

    July 29, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  9. Rob Johnson

    Did anybody really think Obama would have the economy fixed by now? Seriously? If you did, then you didn't realize the full scope of the damage done by Bush's "let them run wild" anti-regulatory policies.

    The GOP will say that it was people that bought homes they couldn't afford that started the crisis, and that was a factor.

    However, the straw that broke the camel's back wasn't people defaulting on their mortgages, it was a casino-oriented, Vegas-style system that let people like AIG make huge, reckless bets on whether or not people would default on their mortgages.

    Not to mention that these risky, foolish bets were being made with money they didn't have....Hell, with money that didn't even exist. When you allow somebody to short sell a stock that they never paid for and never really owned, the only possible outcome was total disaster.

    Be thankful that Bush and his crew didn't totally destroy the economy, and give Obama at least four years to fix it, if not 8.

    July 29, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  10. Frank

    He even looks like a crook! But again, it is all Bush's fault!!! Dems are really toast come 2010 and 2012.

    July 29, 2010 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  11. Becoming political thanks to this administration

    Hey Axelrod: Are the republicans to blame for the rioting by pro-illegal immigrant activists in Arizona today? Why is CNN failing to cover this story. Oh, that's right: the Tea Party wasn't involved in breaking the law so why cover it???

    I don't know which makes me feel queasier: Obama/Axelrod/Emmanuel or CNN.

    July 29, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  12. Tre'

    Sounds an awful lot like "Don't blame be... Blame BUSH!"

    July 29, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  13. Cami

    "Though we weren't responsible for digging the hole, we're responsible for solving the problems and it's going to take a longer time than people would like,"

    How true! Every time I read the dozens of nasty comments from the GNOP'ers regarding ANYTHING this President or the Dems try to do to fix the problems they inherited, I can't help but think that we are a country full of people who, like 4-year-olds, throw a tantrum because we don't get our INSTANT gratification. Whatever happened to having the patience to wait until the corrective measures have had time to take effect.?

    With the myriad of problems this administration has had to deal with, how can anyone in their right mind think that everything can be fixed in less than 2 years, after it took at least 8 years to get to the point we were at when the Dems took office?

    The whining and complaining just make you all look silly.

    Patience people – and grow up!

    July 29, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  14. snow

    Tell me this is a joke. The joker(obama)and the rest of his deck of cards are still trying to blame President Bush for the jokers mess. This has been his economy, after all he has expanded the debt and deficit in unheard of proportions. This goes along with the demorats when the questioning gets tough, call a Republican a racists to change the subject. Same old demorat attacks.

    July 29, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |

    Axelrod is just like his name sounds. Blame it on the Republicans. Well the Republicans have been gone for a year and a half. Take it from me a 50-year Democrat this will just not fly anymore. What he is saying and all the rest of the Democrats along with Obama are saying is place the blame on Maine Bub. It's about time to step up to the plate a face reality that Obama led Democrats are on the road to nowhere except more tremendous debt. As the old cliche, 'YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTING YET BABE. Well you fixen' too. OBama's health plan is a failed plan. It will not do anything except bankrupt America. And what's worse he does not have enough sense to fix it. TIS MAN NEEDS TO BE IN A COTTON PATCH INSTEAD OF TRYING TO RUN A COUNTRY.

    July 29, 2010 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  16. Riley


    The dems had their chance with control of all 3 branchs of gov't. They have noone to blame but themselves for their dismal approval ratings.

    July 29, 2010 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  17. they call me "tater salad"

    Blaming the GOP should be easy just for the simple reason that, THEY ARE TO BLAME!!!

    July 29, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  18. USN

    Let us remember thar DEMOCRATS have controled congress and the money from Jan 1st 2007!

    July 29, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  19. W.B

    You betcha! You blame the Republican Tea Party they protect Wall St with all those big bonus and now they want to give them a tax break. The Bush Tax Cuts should help pay for Bush illegal Iraq War.

    July 29, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  20. Naqib

    wow... things were fine though 2006... they the Dems won congress... you've had it four years and it's the worst four in close to a century.

    The American people know it... that's why you are the lowest rated congress in US history... and the admin is falling like a stone.

    Blame Bush... Call everyone a racist... whatever... old tired tricks... America will say goodbye to this congress in 100 days...

    July 29, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  21. Larry of DC

    The Democratic platform for 2010 – 2012 Vote for me because I blame Bush for everything.

    President O'Blamo's 2012 battle cry - it is not my fault – It is Bush's fault.

    July 29, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  22. George of the jungle

    Axelrod is 100% right on. Don't know how you can get it across to the people that it will get worse if the repos get back in office. They will spend all their time blaming this administration while they reap all the tax cuts and make all the profits from big oil. The little guy will pay. He always does under a republican administration. Wake you vote them out

    July 29, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  23. ib

    Is this the only way the demos can win?? This excuse is getting old. Obama is a joke for a president and people need to wake up and see that. I am not a republican but an independent who is fed up with Obama policies that are not helping one thing in this country. the only thing he is doing is running up the deficit and using AF1 as his personnel toy. To tell you the truth I am fed up with both parties.

    July 29, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  24. nini

    And a vote for a Democrat is a vote for United States destruction.

    I take the republicans any day over the socialists and Marxists.

    If we don't VOTE these people out we deserve what we get.

    And I know we deserve Better than, these revolutionaries that want to Transform our country behind closed doors.
    We deserve better than You Mr. Axelrod.

    July 29, 2010 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  25. Whatever

    Hey Axel-grease, you are full of crap.

    July 29, 2010 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
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