August 12th, 2014
11:32 AM ET
5 years ago

David Axelrod smack-tweets Hillary Clinton

(CNN) - Zing!

David Axelrod, former adviser to President Barack Obama, hit back Tuesday against Hillary Clinton's recent criticism of Obama's foreign policy.

In an interview with “The Atlantic” published over the weekend, Clinton argued the decision not to arm Syrian rebels early on had led to Islamic militants taking over swaths of territory in the region.

The former secretary of state also took a swipe at an oft-repeated phrase Obama uses to sum up his foreign policy choices - “Don’t do stupid stuff.”

"Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle," Clinton said.

In his tweet, Axelrod appears to be knocking Clinton's 2002 vote as U.S. senator in favor of the Iraq War. (Of course, his tweet can also be aimed at Republican hawks who support a harsher response to the current situation in Iraq.)

The PAC for the progressive group MoveOn also tweaked Clinton.

“Secretary Clinton, and any other person thinking about seeking the Democratic nomination in 2016, should think long and hard before embracing the same policies advocated by right-wing war hawks that got America into Iraq in the first place and helped set the stage for Iraq’s troubles today,” Ilya Sheyman, the PAC’s executive director, said in a statement Tuesday.

Clinton later said she regretted supporting the authorization of the Iraq war.

"I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had," Clinton writes in her new book. "And I wasn't alone in getting it wrong. But I still got it wrong. Plain and simple."

The recent tension between Clinton and Obama's team invokes memories of their 2008 battle for the Democratic presidential nomination, when the two candidates butted heads over foreign policy.

A White House official said Monday that the White House is not getting amped up over Clinton's interview. They don't see this as her break-away moment, according to the source, though they anticipate she will move away from Obama over time.

The President and his former chief diplomat will have a chance to talk things out Wednesday night; the two are expected to attend the same event in Martha's Vineyard.

Clinton is also getting hit by the Republican National Committee, which accuses Clinton of playing politics on the issue.

"You can't distance yourself from this administration’s foreign policy when your job for four years was to lead its foreign policy," RNC spokesman Sean Spicer said.

CNN's Ashley Killough, David Chalian, Dan Merica, Jim Acosta, and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: David Axelrod • Hillary Clinton
soundoff (277 Responses)
  1. Philly

    I voted for President Obama twice, but David Axelrod gave us a candidate who wasn't ready for the presidency and then ran out n the administration to make more money in the private sector. He needs to shut up.

    August 12, 2014 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  2. Stuart

    U.S. politicians are arguing about stopping ISIS and "playing us" again in the media. There's no irony or humor in the fact that the Bush administration and Congress of its day decided to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam on the most spurious and inaccurate of rationales, thereby throwing that country back into dishevelment and opening a window for ISIS to step in. I'm not a big Saddam advocate, but I guarantee that if he were still running that country he would squash the ISIS movement in Iraq in its tracks, without needing U.S. involvement. Iraq under his rule was no threat to the U.S. But Iraq under an ISIS rule or no rule at all potentially becomes a global problem.

    August 12, 2014 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  3. liberal disease

    Axelrod is just as guilty for getting Barry elected anyway, if he left 10,000 troops in this would not have happened
    he had to satisfy his base to get elected, so he ended operations, now with no more elections ahead he doesn't care what his base thinks. Axelrod is a sleaze ball

    August 12, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  4. RSJ

    The point is, Hillary is right. When we live in such an unstable, unpredictable world with armies of terrorists storming across countries beheading children and trapping thousands of religious minorities on top of mountains sometimes it takes bold moves to protect our current and future freedoms – and don't start with "we caused this" because those terrorist started in SYRIA where Obama drew the "red line" then backed off leaving a vacuum which emboldened them. This president, while I am sure well-intentioned, does not get the fact that there are truly wicked, evil, brutal people in the world – and their numbers are increasing dramatically – he is of the hands-off, "let's talk about it" philosophy which is great if the world was a different place. But, these people don't speak that language and are not reasonable, rational people who we can ignore or "negotiate" with. Bush understood this but went too far, Obama does not understand this and is not going far enough – unfortunately both scenarios can end up very tragic for our nation.

    August 12, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. mike in NH

    There's nothing more fun than a good progressive versus centrist Dem food fight.

    August 12, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  6. Dudeassist

    The only woman I'm supporting for President is Elizabeth Warren. Hillary is full of IT!!!!!!

    August 12, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  7. herkiethehawk

    Maybe Hillary should pick Dick Cheney as her running mate. be the most honest thing she has ever done.

    August 12, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    smith

    If we would have let Syria and Assad crush the rebels and ISIS in the first place we would not have a crisis in Iraq.
    ------------------------------------
    Meanwhile, back in the real world Assad has/had chemical weapons, which he was not hesitant to use. Were we supposed to just let him continue on using weapons that have been banned by international agreements and laws?

    August 12, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  9. Democrat Junk

    I have no love for Hillarybut when it comes to "slimey political advisors"..... Axelrod penned the book.

    August 12, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  10. James Klimaski

    Hilary Clinton said she made the best decision she could with the evidence she had. No, she made the most opportunistic decision she could without examining any of the evidence. The UN inspector's report confirmed there was no nuclear weapons program. An satellite photograph of two trailer trucks is not conclusive proof of mobile biological weapons labs. She obviously didn't consider the loss of life that occurs in war just as her husband didn't consider the number of malnourished and dying children resulting from the food embargo he imposed on Iraq.

    August 12, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    liberal disease

    Axelrod is just as guilty for getting Barry elected anyway, if he left 10,000 troops in this would not have happened
    he had to satisfy his base to get elected, so he ended operations, now with no more elections ahead he doesn't care what his base thinks. Axelrod is a sleaze ball
    --------------------------
    You're probably right, but it wouldn't turned out the way you seem to imply. It would have been worse, had we stayed.

    Contrary to right wing talking points, if we had left your 10,000 troops in the country without a SOFA, then we would have been an invading force. Besides, Al-Maliki would not guarantee the safety of U.S. troops from prosecution in Iraqi courts if civilians were injured or killed during an operation. We would have likely been at war against the Iraqi Army.

    August 12, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  12. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    @liberal disease
    Axelrod is just as guilty for getting Barry elected anyway, if he left 10,000 troops in this would not have happened
    he had to satisfy his base to get elected, so he ended operations, now with no more elections ahead he doesn't care what his base thinks. Axelrod is a sleaze ball

    WRONG! The majority of Americans wanted OUT of the abortion that Bush created in Iraq. Obama ran on bringing our troops home and the voters responded. Quit shilling for Faux "News"!

    August 12, 2014 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  13. Rusty Krus

    @herkiethehawk
    Maybe Hillary should pick Dick Cheney as her running mate. be the most honest thing she has ever done.

    Uh, yeah...OK, whatever that means.

    August 12, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  14. Juvenal451

    Syria is not Iraq, it's worse. Taking sides in Syria means taking sides in a religious war, Sunni vs. Shia.

    August 12, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  15. kws11

    Interesting that the current administration is lashing out at the future of the party. More concerned with "looking good" than with the long play? Sorry. I know that's not actually in question.

    August 12, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  16. Jorge

    Actually, if Obama-Clinton administration had not abruptly withdraw troops in Iraq and negotiated harder with Iraq we would not be in the current predicament in the first place.

    August 12, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  17. Thomas

    The first thing America missed after over throwing the British was a King or Queen , Aristocracy .

    Queen Hillary and Prince Bill .

    August 12, 2014 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. Faye

    My once desire for Hilary to run is diminishing by the minute. One of the main reasons I voted for President Obama is his views on foreign policy. If she adopts the same shoot first ask questions later mentality as 43, than she will not get my vote.

    August 12, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  19. HillClimber

    Sorry, kids, but the tweet sounds much more like a slap against idiot George, and oh so rightfully so.

    August 12, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  20. jacknyd

    Obama drew a line in the sand and was challenged. he backed down because his bluff was called and he is a wimp. Had he kept his lying word the ISIS could had been stopped before they grouped into what is now a major problem for the world. Never bluff unless you are sure you can kept your red line in the sand word.
    Now Obama is trying to get out of this mess and of course he woudl blame Bush, but we all know the truth. I can't stand Hillary, but she was right about Obama.
    The Air strikes are his way of damage control for not protecting the men in Benghazi, hoping everyone will forget.

    August 12, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  21. rick

    Dont do stupid stuff. Sound advice. Simple. To the point. Something that Hillary aparently never got in the SHORT TIME she was in charge of that policy. And now we have a person who takes the job seriously and actualy does by getting out of the big comfy chair and GOING to the places. Instead of twirling a do nothing machine while there. Then writes a book that rambles about it. All the comedians on shows everywhere are happy to have her. Dont need to goad any stupid remarks. Already built in..

    August 12, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  22. smith

    @Rudy-You realize you just made the same justifcation that the Bush admin. made for going into Iraq.

    August 12, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. Otis

    Hillary is an opportunistic candidate who feels she's earned the Presidency before the vote. Don't be fooled, America. She failed on health care in 1994, did nothing of consequence as a Senator from NY, resetting the relationship with Russia, the Syria conflict and Benghazi. If she runs on that record and people look at it for what it is, they'll realize while she has had the experience, she's been an ineffectual leader.

    August 12, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  24. Steve R

    The GOP is a disaster. All Hillary needed to do was sit back, shut up and watch them self destruct. Instead, she releases a silly book, puts herself in one corner after another with interviews and articles, and doesn't have the sense to just keep quiet about Iraq after being on the wrong side of that debacle. She has turned what should have been a landslide into a dogfight and there is no one there to put a muzzle on her or Bill. She is going to talk herself right out of this thing. Warren is looking better and better. The Obama people know how to win. Which camp will they be in? Who ever is advising Hillary, if anyone actually does that, is making one mistake after another.

    August 12, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    RSJ

    The point is, Hillary is right. When we live in such an unstable, unpredictable world with armies of terrorists storming across countries beheading children and trapping thousands of religious minorities on top of mountains sometimes it takes bold moves to protect our current and future freedoms – and don't start with "we caused this" because those terrorist started in SYRIA where Obama drew the "red line" then backed off leaving a vacuum which emboldened them.
    ---------------------------------–
    Wrong. It was Congress who "backed off" in Syria. Obama had drawn a "red line", and then put it to a vote before Congress, who voted not to authorize military action.

    August 12, 2014 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
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