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. BobG

    Goodbye Hillary.

    August 12, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  2. sonny chapman

    Getting back to that Red Line in Syria, even though the Brits & Repubs(for political reasons) wouldn't give Obama backing to launch missile strikes,Obama WAS gonna do it. Putin stepped in & told Assad that Obama HAD to launch strikes UNLESS he agreed to destroy his chemical supply.
    Obama got Assad to take chem weapons off the battlefield WITHOUT firing a shot. You'll never find a "Patriotic" Repub admit to that.

    August 12, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  3. John Clifford

    As HC correctly points out – ISIS came f/ Syria, not Iraq & who is to say Saddam would not have backed a fellow Sunni. The Arab spring planted the seeds of ISIS. Not the Iraq war. ISIS goal is to carve out a new state. Iraq does not, and never had a unifying culture, and the end result is akin to Ireland. The president could have told Maliki, we are not leaving until the rights and representation of all minorities are protected. He didn't do that and HC is holding him accountable for his decision. HC is putting it on the record she disagreed with his response to the Syrian uprising. Historians will decide who was right. Don't we want all elected officials to tells us what they think? Anything else is hypocrisy, and unAmerican..

    August 12, 2014 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  4. Name uche agonsi uche agonsi

    Hillary does not need to agree with her ex-boss over all foreign policy issues. ..but she her choices should sound 'democratic' rather than 'Republican'.

    August 12, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  5. davecu

    As long as Obama #1 or #2 didn't say it, they have plausible deniability.

    Any woman in 2016 but those liars Clinton and Warren!

    August 12, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  6. JustRight

    The DNC is divided and starting to destroy it's self. Fun to watch. LMAO!

    August 12, 2014 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  7. hkirwin

    I love to see the loons argue over who is more useless and disfunctional, obumbles or clinton.

    August 12, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  8. Ruby M. Fletcher

    Hillary should think twice before she tries to back stab the President. I am personally not fund of a woman President, and yes I am a woman. She will need all of the President help and support she can get. She needs to be careful she will find herself losing again!!!!!!

    August 12, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  9. Randy, San Francisco

    No big deal. It is old news. Axelrod used the Iraq war vote against Hillary during the 2008 primaries. As president, she will direct US foreign policy with clarity and boldness. Hillary in 2016!

    August 12, 2014 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  10. rufus

    I didn't see the Axelrod tweet that the headline refers to?!

    August 12, 2014 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. Steve, New York City

    Hillary Clinton - wow - what a piece of work. I trust the Clintons as far as I can throw the Brooklyn Bridge. Fine comments from Hillary, especially for someone who blindly followed the marching orders of the Neo-cons and the AIPAC in voting for that remarkably stupid 2003 Iraq invasion. Imagine if Saddam was in power? An evil man, but WAY less chaos than there is now.

    Nevertheless, owing to my fear that a GOP candidate might try to stack the supreme court with some "speaking in tongues" nut-job who makes crazy comments about rape, I'll probably end up holding my nose and voting for Miss Ego. Hillary in 2016 - the lesser evil – boohoo.

    August 12, 2014 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  12. Nodack

    That was a calculated move criticizing Obama and distancing yourself from him Hillary. I think your move is going to backfire. It already has with this voter. Bashing the standing President who is in your party and who was your boss makes you look like just another politician pandering for votes. Sorry, you had me, but now you lost me.

    August 12, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  13. c4tee

    How ironic! Hillary is helping the Republicans undermine the President. As a Democrat, I resent Mrs. Clinton's criticism of the president, and consequently, her own party. She is not running against the President in 2016, but the Republican standard bearer. I feel alienated because of her contrary statements. Will I vote for her in 2016? Not if she continues to elevate herself above this beleaguered President.

    August 12, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  14. Bob R. Maryland

    Like so many, I like Hillary. But, I just don't trust her judgement. Regardless, so-called conservatives should not get their hopes up because my lovely wife of 55 years and I would vote for her before we would vote for any Republican we know of who wants the job.

    August 12, 2014 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  15. Yes to Hope and Change - Hillary 2016

    Hillary cannot win 2016, too much baggage.

    August 12, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  16. Yes to Hope and Change - Hillary 2016

    Romney is running in 2016. Sure win!

    August 12, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  17. tjp44

    continues to do nothing........Obama....at least Hillary knows what to do though we may not like it.....Barry is clueless

    August 12, 2014 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  18. Barry Barrister

    My god, the anointed one has been on the throne for 6 years and he and his minions are still blaming Bush? So lame!

    August 12, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  19. GTS58

    The Obama administration is beginning to "eat itself" – stay tuned, more to follow!

    August 12, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  20. smith

    @Sonny-Your right, Obama got syria to give up its chemical weapons with out firing a shot. However, some of the same people fighting against Assad are the ones causing chaos in Iraq. ISIS is a much bigger threat than Assad.

    August 12, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  21. sly

    These are great times for America – President Obama is winding down one of the most successful Presidencies in history, and Hillary Clinton is ready to step up to 8 more years of record economic growth, freedom from foreign terrorists and the US at peace.

    Thank you President Obama – best of my lifetime!

    August 12, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  22. Silence DoGood

    @Yes to Hope and Change – Hillary 2016
    Hillary cannot win 2016, too much baggage.
    ------------–
    ...............normally referred to as experience.

    August 12, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  23. McBob79

    Meanwhile, the fast food president is once again out on the golf course... two rounds today. He's voting absent just like he did during his senate career.

    August 12, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  24. Silence DoGood

    @Ruby M. Fletcher
    Hillary should think twice before she tries to back stab the President. I am personally not fund of a woman President, and yes I am a woman. She will need all of the President help and support she can get. She needs to be careful she will find herself losing again!!!!!!
    ------------
    Disagreement is normal and adult. Liberals are not in lock-step like the conservatives with their Holy Purity test. Liberals are out there actually thinking for themselves. Maybe they are the real "independents".

    August 12, 2014 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  25. z&hcats

    Hillary Clinton's chance to move back to WH is less and less as long as she offers her opinion. We don't want anymore war, got it?? Don't act like a hawk, you married to a chick who duck the draft.

    August 12, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
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