Axelrod: Right-wing politics preventing economic action
August 21st, 2011
11:11 AM ET
3 years ago

Axelrod: Right-wing politics preventing economic action

(CNN) – President Barack Obama’s senior campaign strategist warned Sunday that Republicans catering to tea party politics threatened much-needed progress on job creation.

David Axelrod told CNN’s “State of the Union” that Obama would unveil a reasonable jobs plan in September calling for steps previously endorsed by both parties. However, he said, Republican leaders must put aside the kind of political gamesmanship that “brought us to the brink of default” during the debt ceiling negotiations to act in the best interest of the country.


“I think what you’ll find when the president unveils the entire program is that there’s nothing in there that reasonable people shouldn’t be able to agree on and if we make the House Republicans and particularly the tea party faction, if we make them the standard, we’re in deep trouble,” Axelrod said.

Short-term and long-term solutions are necessary to accelerate the U.S. economy that has taken recent hits from world events, including the Arab spring protest movement that has increased gas prices, the earthquake in Japan and shaky European economies, said Axelrod, who left the White House earlier this year to work on Obama’s re-election effort.

The president’s plan is expected to include an extension of the payroll tax cut passed in January as well as spending on infrastructure development, such as rebuilding or repairing roads and bridges, in an effort to help the long-term unemployed, Axelrod said.

He blamed politics for the lack of action in Congress, pointing specifically to conservative Republicans.

“I hope that over this break they’ve heard from their constituents, they’re ready to rethink this,” Axelrod told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. “The only thing that keeps us from acting on this is pure politics.”

His comments follow the president’s three-day bus tour aimed at promoting the administration’s rural economic development initiatives and pivoting the national conversation toward job creation.

Obama has come under criticism from his liberal base for what they complain is yielding too quickly to Republican intransigence by moving to the political center instead of standing up for Democratic ideals.

Amid the president’s bus tour, members of the House Congressional Black Caucus, many of whom are strong Obama supporters, said he should also visit urban communities when traveling the country.

Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California was perhaps the loudest voice over the past week, telling CNN on Saturday that it’s time for Obama “to fight” for Democratic principles and focus on African American communities facing higher unemployment rates than elsewhere in the country. On Sunday, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland echoed Waters’ call on CNN.

“On the one hand, they’re very protective, they really care,” said Cummings, the former chairman of the Black Congressional Caucus, of how African American members of Congress regard Obama, the nation’s first African American president. “On the other hand, almost every African American person I’ve talked to said they want him to fight and fight harder.”

Cummings summed up the attitude of African Americans as: “If the Republicans aren’t going to work with us, we’re just gong to have to go it alone and stand up to them. Don’t back down. Period.”

– CNN's Tom Cohen contributed to this report.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. RV1982

    I have not heard tea party advocates not supporting spending on infrastructure. I have heard them complain about regulatory burdens that increase costs and delay projects. Maybe the best way to accomplish infrastucture construction is have the Fed buy up local, interest free bonds so localities can pay it off over the LONG HAUL. Not really sure it would create that many jobs, but it can't hurt.

    August 21, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  2. FIELD1stSGT

    You people are so stupid as to believe it's the Republicans or the Tea Party is stopping economic growth. I pity you for such stupid brainwork that you would even listen to a Axelrod. This man is a fool. He goes whereever the person can pay him this most money and says what they want him to say. What little control the House has is to approve things or in their quarter disapprove. If they ever receive anything of value from the preposed laws or admendments. The problem being is they aren't receiving anything from Obama. He didn't present a budget as his job called for, and now he is not working on economic growth. He is living it up on the rich people's tax dollars. If you think it's the little people that pay all the taxes your bigger fools than even I give you credit to be. Look at what you received back from the IRS last year. in most cases most received more than they even made. Who do you think is paying this money. OBAMA??? What a joke.

    August 21, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  3. xav8ter

    Those Georgia job fair lines are indicative of the failing policy's of this very administration. There is no light at the end of the tunnel....you just feel the heat. People....get off of your dead horse!

    August 21, 2011 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  4. myfault

    Oh...the tea party is just astro turf. They're aren't to be taken seriously. Oh. Wait. Oops. Never mind.

    August 21, 2011 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  5. Elaine

    In the 8 years that G.W.Bush was president, Republicans didn't care about the deficit; and for a goodly amount of that time, they controlled congress.President Clinton left the a strong, and solvent economy, with a surplus, and it was wrecked by
    republicans, giving tax cuts to those who could do without them( and they are still now arguing for even more), in a time of war,while creating practically no jobs.Now that Barack Obama is president, they've become deficit hawks, and want to cut spending, and dismantle the Medicare, Social Security, and Education systems, as we have known them, and even want to deny unemployment benefits to people who have earned them.At least President Obama strengthened the jobs market, even though the growth has been slow.Instead of Republicans blocking every proposal , they need to compromise with the president on a jobs bill.

    August 21, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  6. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Since, what?, 2006 when the Dems took control of Congress, the best that could be said about them is that they've been unbelievably irresponsible about America's economy. It's true they had a lot of help from George Bush and the neo-cons, but that doesn't minimise the spendthrift profligacy of the Dems.

    So it's not just Republican "gamesmanship that“brought us to the brink of default.” It takes to play that kind of game. Both parties have been wasting insane amounts of taxpayer money for decades, and that's done enormous damage to the American economy.

    It's time, next November, to vote every incumbent out of office.

    August 21, 2011 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  7. Mike from MN

    To all the right-wing Repubthugs:

    The first thing Obama's administration did when it took office officially was passed bills to END THE GREAT RECESSION of 2008. The recession ended less than 3 months later.

    The government can only effect the economy in two ways: 1) tax policy, and 2) spending

    All of which the Obama administration did when taking office. All that needed and could have been done given the economic and political circumstances has been done.

    Corporations have recorded profits. Executives have gotten record bonuses.

    The reason not enough jobs are being created to reduce the unemployment rate can be blamed on CAPITALISM!

    Corporations have no need to create more jobs! Why? When they are already making record profits!

    Basic SUPPLY-DEMAND principles of a CAPITALISTIC economy is all one needs to understand why corporations do not need to create more jobs.

    To understand, think of the OIL industry. Why has OPEC reduce the output of OIL SUPPLY, even though DEMAND for it is through the roof?

    August 21, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
1 2 3