(CNN) - President Barack Obama’s top strategist said Monday the current frontrunner in the GOP presidential race has a history of creating political animosity.
“I don't think there's any single person in this country that did more to create the kind of discord in Washington that we see today than Newt Gingrich,” Axelrod said on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight.”
“He's really the ‘Godfather of Gridlock.’ He was the one who really created an environment in which people started treating each other as enemies and not as opponents here in Washington.”
Axelrod, who left the White House as Obama’s senior adviser earlier this year to work on the president’s re-election campaign, said Gingrich’s history of political divisiveness would be unappealing to voters.
“He was the one who shut the government down three times when he was trying to close the Department of Education and to defund the EPA and cut Medicare in order to give tax cuts to the wealthy,” Axelrod said. “He was the one who led to the impeachment of a president, and now he's offering himself as someone who can bring the country together. I think that's going to be a hard sell.”
Axelrod also had tough words for Mitt Romney, using the ‘flip-flopper’ line of attack Democrats have been levying against the former Massachusetts governor for months.
“I think the problem for Gov. Romney, he's ‘Steady Eddie’ except in his positions. That's what's made people in that party nervous and making Americans a little bit quizzical,” Axelrod said.
He continued, “I think there has been a rotating group of non-Romneys as his support has begun to sink, really. He's now third place in Iowa, well below where he was four years ago when he ran there.”