Axelrod: Right-wing politics preventing economic action
August 21st, 2011
11:11 AM ET
2 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. lynn

    The republicans will find out what goes round, comes round. If they don't remember a kindergarten lesson, taking turns, their hard nose politics will bite them in their behinds.

    August 21, 2011 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  2. soren

    The Democrats controlled all of government just 8 months ago... Team Obama could have had everything they wanted back then.

    Why should Obama be trusted when he just let Pelosi write the last stimulus bill? He's more interested in legislation when his party is out of power in the House than when they were in power.

    August 21, 2011 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  3. sun

    I'm sorry but which party had a filibuster proof majority in both houses of congress during the whole of 2009 and 2010.......clue...it was not the republicans. Obama could have done anything he wanted and didnt because he did not want to. As for laying it at the door of the republicans, thats a load of hogwash. The President is not interested, he really has lost any interest in the job at hand and shows no willingness to get off the golf course or out of Martha's vineyard to deal with it.

    August 21, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  4. ChumBucket

    Of course, lack of Leadership by President Obama has nothing to do with it, right?

    I'm sorry, I just can't find it in me to feel too sorry for the democrats right now. Before Nov. 2010 they had a filibuster proof majority in congress, they squandered that on a health care law that nobody likes.

    So, the repubs won't compromise?? Can't say as I see Obama being willing to compromise either.

    Face it. Buisienesses in this country have locked their doors, they've put up a sign that says "out to lunch untill Obama is gone" Obama has created too much uncertainty, and business is not going to be hireing until after Obama has left town.

    August 21, 2011 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  5. Lisa

    Please, Please, Please nominate him wing nuts...can't decide which would be better Perry or Bachman? Toss up. You guys pick.

    August 21, 2011 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  6. Name king

    Hey lesson these repugs keep tearing up america's foundation such as educations and infrastructure, what kind of future does America has. We need to invest in our country and keep our money within our birders. We got to stop the repugs from pushing money to the top. Preventing local consumers to touch it, local businesses to touch it, because we all know since the bush tax cuts that big businesses has no appetite to invest in America, not when they can enlists china to be even stronger than us. We need to raise taxes on every one. To modernize our infrastructure and and education system to ensure that our next generation, has the brain to get out of any situation. We need to invest in our country to so that people and big businesses to find us attractive again.

    August 21, 2011 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  7. TeaParty Mike

    If Obama's plan is a stimulus two, it will not be supported by the public. Polls continue to show that a majority of voters did not want stimulus one passed and continue to say it did not produce the jobs promised or grow the economy as promised. If Obama's plan is nothing more than a stimulus two, it will be opposed by a majority of voters and Republicans and voters will thank Republicans for not supporting it.
    Given the present state of the economy, I do think Republicans will support a modest extension of the payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits. And I expect Republicans will want to include things like tax reform to get rid of business tax loop holes and lower tax rates to a level competive with the rest of the world. If done correctly this will be tax netural to a business not taking excessive advantage of tax loop holes and at the same time make a company like GE which paid no taxes on billions in profits actually pay taxes. This will make America more competive and at the same time increase tax revenue. And I expect Republicans will want to roll back many government regulations that are making it difficult and too expensive for buisness to expand. If Obama and Democrats are willing to compromise with Republicans, I am hopeful a deal can be made.

    August 21, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  8. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    What has amazed me about this is how Michelle Bachmann and her band of Tea Party members have held Speaker Boehner and the other mainstream Republicans hostage to their philosophy. When you consider that Ryan and Cantor are more willing to follow the Tea Party line than Conservative Republican principals, especially as they were in charge when most of this debt was created (anyone else remember the Surplus in January 2001?). Two wars and a number of ill-advised tax breaks later and this is what we have.
    Unfortunately, the Democrats decided to keep Nancy Pelosi in as Minority Leader proving they have not learned from past mistakes. Had there been a credible candidate who stood against her in the aftermath of the November 2010 elections, we would probably be better off.
    Finally, President Obama needs to take a page from a more recent president than McKinley. That man basically let things happen and rode with them. The President he needs to emulate is LBJ. That man had the direct phone number of everyone in the Senate and the House on his Rolodex (remember them?). If there was a problem with a bill in committee or on the floor, he would be on the phone with every committee member individually just to get his point across. The result, Republican support on legislation, expedited judicial appointments, and anything else he needed.

    August 21, 2011 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  9. vic , nashville ,tn

    Stop blaming right wing we know they are idiots

    What president did for middle class
    Obama gave stimulus to governors they balance the state budget blaming Obama for spending
    Obama bailout wall street are they hiring no
    Obama extend the Bush cut (now he owns that Obama’s tax cut for rich) did unemployment rate go down no

    Obama only listen to right wing idiots he never consider middleclass, independents or minorities
    When he gave speech he care about us

    August 21, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  10. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I say that the Republicans aren' really interested in anything more than power. Look at what was done during the first term of George W. Bush. He could have continued with the suppluses that were from the previous president (Clinton, a Democrat). For whatever reason, he decided that there was need for tax cuts (which haven't been proven to raise economic growth) should be done instead of cutting the deficit. Go figure that!

    August 21, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  11. Lynda/Minnesota

    I see that Ed Rollins has gotten his "I am a Democratic (and/or) Independent-Hillary-Voter-Who-Wishes I'd-Voted-For-Hillary-Instead-Of-Obama-So-I'm-Now-Going-To-Vote-Republican-In-2012" folks making the blogging rounds. Wonder who he'd like to see these supposedly disaffected Democratic voters throw their caps at in 2012. Romney? Paul? Bachmann? Perry? Huntsman? Santorum? Gingrich? Cain? Good luck with that.

    Oh, BTW, Chumbucket (et. al): The GOP filibuster record skyrocketed under the 110th Congress. So much for that filibuster proof majority you're setting your hopes on. Don't believe me? Use your Goggle tools, and get back to us with the results.

    August 21, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  12. Doug

    The average Democrat wants everyone right of center to burn in hell, check the recent words of Maxine Waters. People who have decency, integirty and values have a moral obligation to vote Republican. The Democrat party has left no doubt that they are the same national socialists in the mold of the ones who murdered so many during WWII. How many minorities have the Democrats killed in America over the last 40 years with their great society control of our inner-cities? You support genocide when you vote Democrat, karma is the scariest thing for an evil Democrat.

    August 21, 2011 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  13. clark1g

    no Mr. Axelrod ... it is the far left that is not bending in their effort to impose socialism on America. If the far left would give in ... progress could easily be made because businesses wouldn't be concerned about the future and would begin hiring again.

    August 21, 2011 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  14. Name king

    When Obama took over the economy was retarding by 9 percent, this is the worst since the great depression losing nearly 3/4 million jobs a month, the stimulus remarkably turned the economy retreat into a 6 point growth before the year ended and been growing even though slightly at times. The repugs keep saying that the stimulus didn't do any thing. How the hell do they explain a economy that was retreating 9 percent to growing nearly 6 percent, explain that please that almost a 15 percent growth, that have never happen In American history. And the meager stimulus money wasn't even a trillion dollars.

    August 21, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  15. tx4ever

    This loser had control of legislative and executives branches for two years and the economy has gotten worst... and he's blaming right wing politicians. That message would not stick in real journalism and proper probing questions.

    August 21, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  16. kyle

    These tea clowns are nothing more than upset GOPers who are upset about losing the election, and now wants to obstruct and hold the Country hostage.

    August 21, 2011 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  17. SLK 65

    Well if this plan works as well as the last one we should hit 12% unemployment by Christmas!! Then the Dems will ask congress for money to pay for poor kids Christmas gifts, because all kids have a right to gifts. You'll hear their favorite line "it's not fair"

    August 21, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  18. maf

    @ Soren @ Sun, depending on who you use as resources, either the Democrats NEVER had a filibuster proof or super majority, or they only had one for THREE months. Either way, there was no time to pass anything of consequence in the time frame you so freely spout about INCORRECTLY!
    When you make up stuff to support your slanderous position, it just adds fuel to a fire that the GObP continue to let burn uncontrollably. Do some of your own research and then be open to the evaluation!
    The Party of NO is quickly becoming the Party of NOTHING!
    To run on only one mantra of "Cut Spending" will be very limiting in 2012 and should provide enough negativity that any GObP nominee will have little of NO chance to win the White House.

    August 21, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  19. GI Joe

    The Corporatists (Fascists) want us all to work for mimimum wage so the corporations can give them bigger kickbacks.

    Since when were we fascists? The republicans are certainly acting like it, and their corporate friends are deliberately witholdling job creation to make this country fail.

    August 21, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. Republicans - The Not Intended To Be Factually Accurate" Party

    Look forward not backward.

    It is a fact that a return to the Clinton era tax rates – - or said another way, let the "temporary" Bush tax cuts EXPIRE – - would bring in more REVENUE and LOWER the DEFICIT.

    Fact – Tax cuts HAVE NOT created jobs – - so called `job creators` have only pocketed more after-tax earnings.

    Going forward, unwind the tax cuts and cut the deficits.

    August 21, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  21. Clwyd

    Republicans stink at governing! All they think of is in terms of partisan politics! Now the party against tax increases is talking about voting to end Payroll tax cuts! Reason? Maybe because Obama wants to help the working middle class and they want to help the millionaires and billionaires keep their loopholes!! Stupid is forever if you are a republican!

    August 21, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  22. Rick McDaniel

    Axlerod's the biggest liar in Washington. He's worse than Obama.

    The Democrats destroy the economy, and then try to blame it all on the GOP. What total liars!

    August 21, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  23. Coonsey

    There was never a fillabuster proof congress in 2008/2009. Either way, exactly what has Republicans passed that will create jobs since being in charge of House for 8 months now? CUTS do not create jobs, they cut them.

    August 21, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  24. Lynda/Minnesota

    @ Chumbucket:

    My mistake. It's the 111th Congress you should be Goggle, not the 110th. Either way, BOTH the 110th and the 111th Congress been distructive under Republican filibuster domination - including approving the TARP funding, which was, of course, voted on by the 110th and signed into law by then President Bush - NOT President Obama.

    August 21, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  25. Sjmfury

    More Proof that Ron Paul will be President come 2012.

    August 21, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
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