Axelrod has words for the Republican candidates
June 13th, 2011
05:06 PM ET
3 years ago

Axelrod has words for the Republican candidates

(CNN) – David Axelord, senior strategist for President' Obama's re-election campaign, sat down with CNN Chief National Correspondent John King to sound off on the Republican field of presidential contenders ahead of the 2012 GOP presidential debate Monday night. Below is some of what he had to say. Watch the full interview on CNN's "John King, USA" at 7 p.m. ET and tune in for the presidential debate at 8 p.m. ET on CNN.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann: "I think that she obviously has tremendous amount of appeal to the grassroots of her party. She raised a fantastic amount of money last year for her congressional race so she's got a following. I think she'll, she's got great appeal in the state of Iowa, which is where this process begins. And if she wins there, she could go far in the process."


Former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain: "I don't know him very well. I've seen him on television and so on. I do think it's hard to make the leap because experience does matter. I understand this argument and it's better not to be someone who has an experience in public life. But we'll see if people buy that."

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich: "Well it's interesting to hear him say that he wants, he's running because he's the guy who can change Washington. He's been such an interesting and sometimes polarizing figure in this town for the last 20 years. And I think what people are looking for is actually leaders who will rise above those kinds of partisan divisions and fierce partisan warfare at all times and look for places where we agree."

Texas Rep. Ron Paul: "He's an interesting guy. I will say this, he has, he has distinctive views and he's been consistent in those views. And he, too, has a following."

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty: "Well you know again he, he is new to the national scene. I did hear his speech on the economy … There was a question of standing. Can you leave your state with a $6.2 billion deficit and then moralize about fiscal responsibility. And I think you know everyone who runs for president learns that they have to end up confronting their own, their own statements, their own record, and so on."

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney:
"Well I do think that the experience of having run before matters and you know he's been running for president for what six seven years now so that's a lot of experience, and a lot of contacts generated, familiarity and that's all his benefit. There too though it's not what you say, it's what you've done and when he was governor of Massachusetts, Massachusetts was 47th in the nation in job creation. I don't know that that qualifies you as an oracle on how to revive the economy and so he'll have to explain why that was and why Massachusetts lagged the nation when he was governor in job creation."

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum: "He has to go and present that case to the American people [responding to his criticism of the president's domestic and economic policies]. I think the American people look at this president and they see a guy with very strong personal values, a good father, a good family man, someone who's caring and I don't think that they think that at all. Now there may be some small faction within the Republican Party that will respond to that and that may be his play in this. But as a matter of winning a national election I don't see that as a very constructive or successful message."

soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Bob in PA

    "because experience does matter"
    You go David ! Tell that to all the politically uneducated that voted for your boss last time around.

    June 13, 2011 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  2. Bob in PA

    Obama is " very strong personal values, a good father, a good family man, someone who's caring ..."
    Absolutly right. He is just a failure as POTUS !

    June 13, 2011 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  3. Bill in Florida

    Axelrod is a class act. He always holds back what he's thinking; always either says something nice about somebody, or doesn't say anything at all.

    June 13, 2011 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  4. Holly Bush

    What choice did the voters have? John McCain, a good guy, then he picks Sarah Palin. He eliminated himself from my ballot with that choice.

    June 13, 2011 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  5. concerned citizen

    these people need ALL the advice they can get...

    June 13, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  6. chyke

    Thank you for telling it as it is on Romney. Anybody who does not know his records and who hears him running all over the place shouting jobs, jobs, might be tempted to take him seriously. Under his tenure as governor, his state ranked 47th in job creation (even when the economy was good). Expose him the more for the fraud that he is!!

    June 13, 2011 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  7. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    No thanks.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    June 13, 2011 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  8. Intruth23

    Bob, Obama could put more up in his little finger than you ever could with your insignifcant remarks. Bottom line is this president kept the economy from going over a cliff when republicans and bush darn near destroyed it. In two years he has created and saved close to 2 million jobs. Because this is the worst ecomomic turn down since the 1930s caused largely by republican policies from the last decade it will not turn around over night. You cannot chage the laws of physics. And since republicans have been in office they have done nothing of any significance to turn around this economy!

    June 13, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  9. Me

    I'd vote for Fizbo before I'd vote for any of these GOP clowns.

    June 13, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  10. Indy

    Romney is by far the best candidate for the GOP, but he is a record breaker for flip flopping, he was a star at cutting workers hours and laying people off to line his pockets with money by dismantling companies and sending jobs overseas. Lets not forget he was a failure job creation while he was Governor, then there is ROBAMA Care and the fact that he is old news that did not fare well against Obama in 2008, but he is still the very best the GOP has to offer.

    June 13, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. D. Corrigan

    You have to hand it to Axelrod, he said all that with a straight face. The Repubs are fielding candidates that are downright laughable. They are going to rip each other apart in the primary, with Palin throwing Molotov cocktails from the stage or the peanut gallery. From an entertainment standpoint, I hope she also runs. It will be tough to keep her under wraps like McCain did. She'll have to answer all those "Gotcha" questions. Like "What newspapers do you read?"

    June 13, 2011 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  12. Larry Batek

    Obama has "very strong personal values, is a good father, is a good family man, someone who is caring..."Absolutely right.He is just a success as POTUS!

    June 13, 2011 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  13. Indy

    BOB in PA,
    You offer nothing for proof with your statement that Obama is a failure, why is he a failure ? Name all the proven failures that are his fault, give something other then the Fox News blanket statement that Obama is a failure. You can do it !

    June 13, 2011 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  14. once upon a horse

    in a way I am hoping that Herman Cain comes out on top and wins the nomination..THEN picks Al West as his running mate. Boy would the far right wing have a fit then. If Rush Limbaugh wanted to claim that the picking of Obama was basically due to race, then what the heck could he say if THAT ticket were to appear? :0

    June 13, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  15. keeth in cali

    @Bob in PA: #1. BHO is a graduate of Occidental, Columbia, and Harvard. He held the positions of IL State Senator from early 1997 to late 2004 (~8 years), and US senator from early 2005 to late 2008 (~3 years) before becoming president. I'd say 11+ years in at the top levels of state and federal government IS experience, regardless of what your Fox News talking points tell you. BHO has almost double the number of years of experience in state government than GWB, and GWB had no experience at the federal level before becoming president. Sure, GWB was governor of Texas, but you know he wouldn't have gotten anywhere without his daddy's contacts and money. By contrast, BHO worked his way through school without the assistance of a rich father with powerful connections. #2. Prove it.

    June 13, 2011 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  16. Larry and Tia

    Since there isn't one serious Republican Candidate for President. What are your plans after you lose this next election?

    June 13, 2011 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  17. Debby

    Well maybe Mass. was 47th because they didn't need big job creation when Romney was Gov. if the economy was good. I have never heard of Mass. complaining about jobs except when Obama became Pres. CT and RI are in the same boat as well.

    June 13, 2011 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  18. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Get ready people for the biggest Republican "snow job" in history.

    June 13, 2011 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  19. once upon a horse

    perhaps before they start attacking Obama on the economy, the candidates should discuss what the GOP has done as far as helping create jobs. The latter would make a very short debate.

    June 13, 2011 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  20. Ed

    I look forward to watching the GOP debate. It should be the best comedy show on TV tonight.

    June 13, 2011 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  21. Republican Robber Baron

    Wow...Ron Paul gets respect from Axelrod. Too bad the GOP establishment never gives him that same level of respect.

    June 13, 2011 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  22. Tony

    Again....LOVE blaming President Obama and no blame for Congress or the Republicans.
    President Obama put on the brakes of the speeding car that the Republicans put American in
    before we went over the cliff. How easy folk forget.
    Oh yeah, good job Republicans. Screaming about spending money then keep giving it to the oil industry that has made billions if not trillions of dollars...
    Where are the screaming angry Tea Party and other Republicans. Oh yeah that's right it is because it's your party that is doing the wasting our money, so it's ok.

    June 13, 2011 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  23. Kenny K

    @keeth in cali: In addition, he was a lecturer and also a lawyer for few years. However, Republicans like to say that he was a "community organizer" because they refuse to acknowledge his life achievements.

    June 13, 2011 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  24. shoegazer

    How did Axelrod do this interview while maintaining a straight face? Must be some poker player.

    June 13, 2011 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  25. John Trice

    In 2012 Obama/Biden will have 4 years of experience running this country. So as far as experience goes.... this ticket has to get the nod in that category.

    June 13, 2011 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
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