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. Yes to Hope and Change - Hillary 2016

    The gloves are coming off now. Bill & Hillary have never lost a fight! Cave in, but didn't lose.

    2016 is fast approaching. Will Hillary win primaries or cave in to the next Hispanic president candidate the Dems offer up?

    Is this Hillary's turn to win?

    Will Bill be her support or downfall?

    Can she distance herself from her bad experience in Barry's administration?

    Stay turn America. The roller coaster ride is about to begin.

    August 12, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    smith

    @Rudy-You realize you just made the same justifcation that the Bush admin. made for going into Iraq.
    ------------------------
    The Bush administration was talking about gas attacks against the Kurds that occurred in the 1980s, 25 years prior to.

    August 12, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  3. Yakobi

    "You can't distance yourself from this administration’s foreign policy when your job for four years was to lead its foreign policy,"
    Notice you never hear democrats criticizing Clinton's failure as Secretary of State. It's left to republicans to remind people that she accomplished nothing. She can keep saying "I would have done things different" and blame everyone but herself all she wants, but her record says it all.

    August 12, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  4. Yes to Hope and Change - Hillary 2016

    Run Hillary Run!

    August 12, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  5. WN

    Hilary is a terrific leader, but I hate to see dynasties rule America. For this reason, if another credible woman comparable in intelligence runs, I will not be voting for Hilary.

    August 12, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  6. bmike

    I agree with your comment Steve R..she needs to shut her trap..I like her but don't try to seperate your self trying to gain points. True the Obama machine knows how to win...look what happened to McCain and Romney..so she's need to just relax.

    August 12, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  7. Juvenal451

    @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"

    Our troops in Iraq were withdrawn in accordance with a Reduction in Forces Agreement signed by George Bush in 2007.
    "

    August 12, 2014 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  8. Mark L.

    I ♥ Hillary Rodham Clinton !! Hillary Clinton in 2016 – ALL THE WAY to the White House...{:o)

    August 12, 2014 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  9. Nick

    Ahh, so much fun to watch Clinton and Obama tear each other down. The gift that keeps on giving! Let's have a cage match and see who walks out alive.

    August 12, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  10. Paul

    Obama/Democrats in power the past 5 years, and they OWN the current situation in Iraq.

    1) Obama failed to negotiate leaving residual troops in Iraq – big mistake.
    2) Obama "underestimated" ISIS – fatal mistake

    August 12, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  11. Truth

    To Yes to Hope and Change – Hillary 2016, she is running – where have you been
    and she will win 2016 and 2020!

    August 12, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  12. Thomas

    So , She was Secretary of State , and she never had a clue that Iraq was going south ?

    She voted for the war in the first place .

    August 12, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Yakobi

    "You can't distance yourself from this administration’s foreign policy when your job for four years was to lead its foreign policy,"
    Notice you never hear democrats criticizing Clinton's failure as Secretary of State. It's left to republicans to remind people that she accomplished nothing.
    -------------------------------
    Who achieved more, Hillary Clinton or Condoleeza Rice?

    August 12, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  14. critical thinking

    It's great to be 100% right when you look back at decisions made and words spoken. Like; If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, period. I wonder when we will hear the President with regard to that say; I still got it wrong. Plain and simple. Don't hold your breath America, this President is NEVER wrong.

    August 12, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  15. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    At this point what difference does it make !!!

    Americans are still DEAD in Benghazi.

    The cover up continues.

    Mrs. Clinton FAILED in her DUTY.

    NO.... Mrs. Clinton we will NOT forget.

    August 12, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  16. sly

    Hillary Clinton, a very effective Secretary of State, is not identical to President Obama, who is one of the most effective foreign policy President's in history.

    She politely expressed her opinion – these are two great leaders who have made the past 6 years a success. There are no significant differences in their foreign policy.

    These are great times for America, and I expect 6-8 more years of prosperity coming up.

    August 12, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  17. Ali Baba

    Perry-Palin 2016

    Only these two can deliver our country from evil.

    August 12, 2014 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  18. Tone

    You distance yourself from this President on anything then you distance yourself from me so i am looking for a different democratic candidate surely not Hillary Democrats better stick together don't be back stabbers.

    August 12, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  19. rjsenterp

    Holy crap! Axelrod is STILL blaming Bush for Iraq. Maybe he should since this is a do-nothing administration.

    August 12, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  20. Brian

    Hillary should not be allowed to win. We can't have a Republican back in the WH;)

    August 12, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  21. smith

    @Rudy-You mean 15 years prior and I was talking about WMD`s. Anyways, we could have let the UN handle that part Assad but aiding the rebels has turned against our interests.

    August 12, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. Klutch Cargo

    Awwww,
    Politics make strange bedfellows, no? Hillary voted for the war and now she has changed her mind. No problem. Everybody makes mistakes. Problem was, everybody, or most voted for war. Facts in evidence but now shoved under the table. Saddan Hussean attacked Iran and was at war with them for several wars. He gassed his own people. And then the Attacked Kauait. It was Bush Senior that removed him. Then there was evidence that he was trying to build an atomic bomb. So what was George Bush supposed to do? He was dammed if he did and dammed if he didn't. Now the militants are attacking in Iraq. Obama is having to do something, make a choice. Dammed if he does and dammed if he doesn't.

    August 12, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  23. Bob OHearn

    Her support of Monsanto and GMOs is plenty enough to disqualify her from any public office.

    August 12, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  24. bevmccar@gmail.com

    The gloves are coming off and I can't wait! If she runs the dirt both in her life and that of her husband will be fair game. Oh, Vince Foster, Monica Lewinsky and all the others whose names I can't recall. LET THE MUDSLINGING BEGIN! Fasten your seat belts folks!

    August 12, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  25. Kevin

    Just as the Democrat candidates up for re-election in the midterms are fleeing any association with Barack Obama, you knew it was just a matter of time before Hillary had to try to distance herself. Any association with Obama is going to be poison to a campaign, but Hillary trying to run away is like a conjoined twin trying to lose her sister.

    August 12, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12