(CNN) – Senior Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod issued his own rebuttal to Tuesday's Republican presidential debate labeling frontrunner Mitt Romney a political flip flopper who deserves skepticism from the American electorate.
In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, the first of its kind in the 2012 election cycle, Axelrod stopped short of labeling Romney the presumptive nominee, but spent most of his time pointing to what he sees as inconsistencies in the former Massachusetts governor's record.
"It is a pattern time and time and time again and you heard it again last night," Axelrod said. "It's consistent with a guy who ran for the governorship of Massachusetts and for the Senate in Massachusetts as a pro-choice moderate who supported civil unions and supported environmental protections … to the guy you see today who is hard after the tea party vote and thrown all of his positions over."
Axelrod, who left the White House earlier this year to work on the president's re-election effort, took aim at what he said are shifting stances from Romney over the payroll tax credit and health care reform.
Romney has repeatedly said his stances have evolved over time to reflect policy gradations.
But Axelrod said the changes are similar to the "leaps" he has made throughout his career to fit his imminent political needs, leaps that should be worrisome to the voters both sides are courting.
"The question of trust is important particularly for the middle class," Axelrod said. "They want to know that where the president was yesterday is where he'll be today and where he'll be tomorrow," Axelrod said. "It's hardly the case when you're all over the lot as Gov. Romney was last night, has been throughout this campaign, has in fact been throughout his career."
Romney strategist Eric Fehrnstrom said the Obama administration is trying to shift the discussion away from the current economy, which he equated to the Great Depression.
"What we're getting from this administration in response to the tanking economy are deflections and diversions from what really matters, which is President Obama's failure to create jobs," Fehrnstrom said. "The only question is whether we can make it to the election of 2012 before Obama takes us all the way back to 1929."
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