Axelrod chides Booker for defending Romney
May 21st, 2012
02:50 PM ET
3 years ago

Axelrod chides Booker for defending Romney

(CNN) – David Axelrod, the president's senior campaign strategist, scorned fellow Democrat and Obama supporter Cory Booker after the Newark mayor defended Mitt Romney this weekend.

"In this particular instance, he was just wrong" Axelrod said Monday in an interview with MSNBC.

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Following a week of intense attacks from Obama's team over Romney's former private equity firm, Bain Capital, Booker on Sunday described the criticism as "nauseating" and called for an end to negative campaigning. The mayor also referenced scrutiny of Bain from some within Romney's own party.

"If you look at the totality of Bain Capital's record, they've done a lot to support businesses, to grow businesses, and this, to me, I'm very uncomfortable with," Booker said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Shortly after his interview, however, the rising Democratic star released a web video walking back his remarks and saying examination of Romney's corporate background was fair game.

"It is reasonable, and in fact I encourage it, for the Obama campaign to examine that record and discuss it. I have no problem with that," Booker said.

On Monday, Axelrod emphasized the mayor was "wrong" with his earlier comments. Asked if Booker was contacted by someone in the campaign or the White House over his original remarks, Axelrod said, "Well I think he probably heard from a lot of people who feel that it's a legitimate issue."

Axelrod said Romney frequently talks about his experience in the private sector and made the case that the firm should be a fair target in Romney's record.

"People admire success, they understand that business succeed and businesses fail, but what they don't like is when people at the top walk away with enormous riches and people down the line are left holding the bag," Axelrod said.

On Monday, Obama's campaign again went on the Bain offensive, releasing a new documentary-style video showcasing the stories of three workers laid off from Ampad, a paper plant that went bankrupt after being bought out by Bain.

Romney has repeatedly fended off jabs over Bain. Last week, he said Obama's campaign was committing "character assassination" and argued his former firm's job was to invest in companies and make them grow.

"There's this fiction that some have that somehow you can be highly successful by stripping assets from enterprise and walking away with lots of money and killing the enterprise. There may be some people who know how to do that. I sure don't," Romney said in Florida.

Bain also responded on Monday, releasing a statement decrying the recent ads and touting the firm's successes.

"Despite political attacks that emphasize the few companies that have struggled, the facts are that during Bain Capital's ownership, revenues grew in 80 percent of the more than 350 companies in which we have invested," the statement read.

Also see:

Political jabs are 'nauseating,' mayor says

Gingrich is millions in the hole

Boehner and Pelosi say they feel good heading into November

Axelrod: Fund-raising pitch cited Wright threat to combat super PACs


Filed under: 2012 • Cory Booker • David Axelrod • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Chris MI

    More Chicago Politics. And what is all this "on both sides" BS? What has Romney said about the economy and Obama that is not true? And that is all Romney is taling about...Oh, I forgot, the whole Rev. Wright thing. Well, lets look at that, there is this weird report that a pro Romney Super Pac what THINKING about running adds about Obama's former rev, (the one that Married him and baptized his children). So the media thinks this is just about as low as you can get, I mean really, why should anyone look at someone that has such a deep moral impact on the majority of your adult life, that is just LOW. But to dig up stories from 1965 when a 15 year old Mitt Romney may or may not have bullied a boy ONE time, well, that is character. Come on people, the media is in the Obama Camp. We are just going to have to use our heads, is America better now under Obama? I say no and with 24/7 media telling us non stop how great Obama is and how the economy is really getting better and Obama still can not get to 50% approval, I don't think I am alone. But I am really getting tired of the New agencies trying to tell us who to vote for instead of just reporting the news in a fair and even way, come on CNN, try it!

    May 21, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  2. waikikijohn

    Alexrod is correct. The mayor is a smart man, but he slipped up on this comment. Romney & the gang will use whatever to destroy this President.

    May 21, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  3. MR.AL

    The Romney situation; I see Romney as he is a Greedy Millionaire Republican!! Romney has put his own foot in his own mouth!! He brags about his business experence is superior to Mr.Obamas!! His time at Bain Capital is an open book!! His attack on Mr.Obamas credibility has been ongoing!! Republicans love to hide negative facts, what about G.W.Bush there has been nothing said about being left Ten Trillion idebt and in a recessoin left complements of G.W.Bush!! Romney and Republicans have alot of claims!! What about the big nothing they have done in the last three plus years!! Republicans like to blame but not take the blame!!

    May 21, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  4. Woman In California

    Booker is a clown who wanted to make a BIG name for himself and I am sure he now REGRETS those statements.

    May 21, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  5. JAZZYJAH

    I shutter to think of a Romney presidency. It seems most are not lookiing at the bigger picture. Think about the judges he would appoint to the bench that will impact everyone years from now. He wants to take us back to the Dark Ages. There isn't one single Republican that I can think of that has a progressive thought. All they want to do is start wars or continue the one(s) that are going on now. I wish someone out there would tell me WHY people 55+ and older are voting for Romney according to the polls. Doesn't make sense to me - this is a man who will definitely mess with your Social Security, Medicare and anything else the Republicans can get their hands on. I guess hate runs deeper than their pocketbooks!

    May 21, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  6. BLKMANinAmerica

    RayE.(Georgia).....................what has Romney done to make one think that "no dougt that Romney will be much better for the Economy then President Obama"? Really, name something that he (Romney) has done in say the past 3years that would make 1 think he's better for the "economy"? Truly, I can't think of anything, which means it's all hype and BS, Romney frankly is like all repuks when it comes to the economy....................they couldn't fight their way out of the wet end of a used paper sack. That's on a good day!

    May 21, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  7. JAZZYJAH

    To Obama 2012 – BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    Well, I guess you are use to being screwed, royally - by GWB so you know what it feels like. You enjoyed it so much you are now going back for more with Romney (Bush on Steriods).

    May 21, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  8. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    Woman In California – Booker is a clown who wanted to make a BIG name for himself and I am sure he now REGRETS those statements.
    ======================================================================================
    my, my, my.... how one little slip up of truth telling can turn the hate filled leftists upon one another. You, my dear, need to take some sedatives, or at a minimum back off the koolaide a bit. You're becoming a bit rabid.

    May 21, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  9. JAZZYJAH

    If Romney takes the Presidency (UGH!!!), he will spend the first two years of his presidency blaming President Obama for why he cannot create jobs. Then, he will implement most of the plans that President Obama has already put before Congress that were not allowed to be voted on and because it will most likely be controlled by Republicans, Congress will pass everything and Romney will take all the credit. Typical Republican tricks. They use to call Nixon "Tricky Dick," well these "NEW" Republicans have him beat by a mile. As I have said, Republicans have no new ideas about this Country's future. They are backward-thinking.

    May 21, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  10. Another Day in the RW Idiot Mines

    "Obama killed Medicare when he took $500 Billion from it for ObamaCare."

    Really? Last I checked, Medicare is still around.

    May 21, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  11. Another Day in the RW Idiot Mines

    "Romney would be a much better President than Obama. Obama campaigns against debt, and then increases it by $5 trillion in 3 1/2 years."

    And another low-information parrot repeats the GOBP cult's zombie lie. Obama owns about 20% of that debt and the GOBP cult owns the remaining 80% with their tax cuts for the filthy rich, off the books wars and the economic crash reducing tax revenues.

    May 21, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  12. Vader

    I think Mayor Booker's comments were entirely fair and accurate, and I am an Independent who most likely will vote to re-elect the President. There are many, many, many things to criticize Mr. Romney about, but this whole thing with Bain is over the top and truthfully, inaccurate.

    Axelrod and company need to back off Mayor Booker. The man has a right to his opinion, and I think he articulated it well.

    May 21, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  13. Another Day in the RW Idiot Mines

    "Trouble in Paradise??? There is no doubt that Romney will be much better for the Economy than Obama. The conservative plan is what it has always been. Long before all the Big Social Programs were put in place the Country did quite well."

    And here we see a regular troll who tries to derail CNN with nonsense. The Rmoney/GOBP cult cannot "improve" the economy or the debt situation until the admit their policies were failures. Rmoney has proposed a deficit increase plan larded with more tax cuts for the filthy rich THAT DON'T WORK! And if you want to look at what does "work" check out the tax rates during the Ike years and notice how the middle class boomed.

    May 21, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  14. Penobscot

    Romney is right. Any honest person would defend him.

    Booker, the only democrat left that tells the truth.

    May 21, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  15. Flipper Rmoney Failure Ahead

    "But to dig up stories from 1965 when a 15 year old Mitt Romney may or may not have bullied a boy ONE time, well, that is character."

    Wow, desperate and pathetic all at once. First, Rmoney was an adult (18) and the bullying is not in question. Five eyewitnesses have come forward and even Rmoney doesn't deny it. What is it with all the nutjobs that simply pretend facts they don't like don't exist.

    May 21, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  16. DOL10th

    I never understood the reference “had their spine ripped out, told to put it in their pocket and don’t take it out until told to do so”…..I do now

    May 21, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  17. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    Another Day in the RW Idiot Mines – the economic crash reducing tax revenues.
    ==========================================================
    I am assuming you are referring to the Bush tax cuts, now more appropriately called the Obama tax cuts.

    Now maybe you can tell us all just how tax cuts to all people actually paying taxes (a huge number of which were NOT rich) and generating a string of over 50 months of economic and employment GROWTH caused people that could not afford their subprime mortgage financed free houses to default on those mortgages? This I have to hear....

    May 21, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  18. non issue

    Bend, you need to have your own eyes looked at. You can only see through GOP glasses.
    It will be a sad day in Nov. for you.

    May 21, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  19. non issue

    Bend, we think you need to have your own eyes looked at. You can only see through GOP glasses.
    It will be a sad day in Nov. for you.

    May 21, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  20. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Corey Booker is young and still evolving in politics just like President Obama has shown.

    May 21, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  21. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    non issue Bend, you need to have your own eyes looked at. You can only see through GOP glasses.
    =========================================================================
    My eyes see VERY clearly thank you. Just what do you take issue with? Why bother posting the usual factless responses like this?

    It will be a sad day in Nov. for you.
    =========================
    Highly unlikely. If it is, it will be a VERY sad for the COUNTRY, whose very existence could be threatened with another 4 years of Obama failure. What you see happening in Greece will happen here as well.

    May 21, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  22. souptwins

    Booker was right about Bain. Both parties have gotten too narrow in how they define themselves. No wonder so many moderates and independents feel left out of either party. Sad to see Alexrod throwing Booker under the bus.
    Romney had 30 yrs. of a very successful profession. Find something else to rag on. Obama is much younger and seemed to work very hard at laying low so he wouldn't create a record for himself. Can we now move past this and see who has a plan to get up off the edge of cliff?

    May 21, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  23. The REAL Truth...

    @BEND – "how one little slip up of truth telling can turn the hate filled leftists upon one another"
    -------------------------------–
    In reality, most of "hate" I see on these postings over the last few months is by far coming from the right – with comments from folks like Dave, Ray (Georgia), Four and yourself included. I defend Obama (not because I'm a liberal or Dem – I'm an independent and vote for persons of both parties) but because not one of you can back up your comments with TRUTH and FACT. It's all hating and regurgitated Faux Noise spoutrage. Yes, I watch them, and CNN and MSNBC to see the tilted versions. But, for EVERY "so called" FACT you guys spout I can counter with the REAL TRUTH... the REAL FACTS, not some deliberately obsfucated revised annesiac version of reality. Until such time as you can PROVE out your points, I consider I rank it up there with the blissful ignorance with which it was typed. Thanks for playing today.

    May 21, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  24. FLIndpendent

    To those of you saying that you want to see ads showing what the candidate will do or has done maybe you don't live in a swing state. President Obama has a number of ads out that do show what he's accomplished and they are wonderful, positive ads. As far as going after Romney's Bain record I think it is perfectly legitimate to do so as Romney touts this as his biggest accomplishment and what he feels qualifies him for the presidency. Besides, during the primaries and now there are so many negative ads against Obama is sickening and so it's only fair that Obama fight back!

    May 21, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  25. Another Day in the RW Idiot Mines

    "Now maybe you can tell us all just how tax cuts to all people actually paying taxes (a huge number of which were NOT rich) and generating a string of over 50 months of economic and employment GROWTH caused people that could not afford their subprime mortgage financed free houses to default on those mortgages? This I have to hear...."

    Oh, I can tell you but you won't hear it. Tax cuts for the poor and middle class have stimulative effects because they spend the money. Tax cuts for the rich do not produce the same effect. And you clearly know nothing about the mortgage default situation (what a surprise!). The subprime defaults were the trigger. As property values plummet, innocent homeowners became victims. More to the point, no one has said the bush tax cuts caused the mortgage meltdown. You just pulled one of the oldest and lamest tricks in the book when you lose an argument: Create an argument (called a "srawman") based on something nobody said. If you want to know though, it was Bush's complete lack of regulatory oversight that created the housing meltdown. Subprime borrowers defaulting didn't create the crash as much as the huge amounts Wall St. was betting on all types of mortgages (while also lying about what exactly their CDOs and securitzation schemes were based on). They took $X at risk and multiplied the money at stake (X), meaning the repercussions from defaults were horribly increased. You really should start paying more attention.

    May 21, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
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