August 12th, 2014
11:32 AM ET
4 months 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. Anonymous

    Did he not vote for the Iraq war as a Senator from Illinois?

    August 12, 2014 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. benjamine

    Hillary Clinton- Liar, cheater, dishonest and corrupt. No way will she win. Get lost with Bill.

    August 12, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  3. afvet

    I find it ironic, that after six plus years of blaming all his problems on Bush, that Obama might be realizing that IF Hilary wins, she will be blaming HIM for all her problems.

    August 12, 2014 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  4. Hill No Good

    I was for team Hillary - but now I tend to doubt her presidency due to her hawkish beliefs. Elizabeth Warren!!! You now MUST Run NOW. We need a progressive president.

    August 12, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  5. Burstbubble

    "Don't do stupid stuff" is their foreign policy? Like talk to the terrorist and see if they will listen to reason. Don't do stupid stuff is a two edged sword. The culture in the middle east is much different the in the West. Espeically the religious fanatics that are wanderinf the desert out there. The only thing they seem to understand is brute force. For example, ask a foreign country, Iran which is an enemy, for your missing drone. Really? He could have ordered a jet fighter to go blow it upi n the desert. Here is another famous statement, " We"ll lead from behind". Really? Nobody leads from behind. Look both parties have done really bad things. The last dig is Repulicans sent away jobs and now they blame Obama administraition for the lack of economic recovery. Congress runs the show and US citizens don't hold them accountable. Aside from all this religious radicals or fanatics who can't play nice with others need to go. It happened in Ancient Rome too with the various christian sects. There was lots of infighting in around Egypt, Syria, Rome, so does this sound familiar? Lets face it folks we haven't changed much. One other thing is not all oils are a like and we use sweet crude oil for our vehicles. The other oil has too much sulfer in it and I don't know if Iraq has any of that kind of oil? Anyone know which type they have?

    August 12, 2014 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Silence DoGood

    This MSM non-story of Dem in-fighting is just to attempt to balance the obvious angry, nasty GOP on GOP and GOP on TP conflicts
    -----------------–
    Unfortunately usually level-heads are picking this up and running with it....straight into a wall.
    ===============================================================
    The headline is over top. Axelrod's reply is hardly a rip, much less a return blow. He's actually trying to throw water on the right wing's predictable hissy fit.

    August 12, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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.
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Yes sonny chapman, thank you for that much needed recap.
    All done without firing ONE shot.
    True,but it will never be enough for some.

    August 12, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  8. Bob

    Stupid stuff like pulling our troops and leaving Iraq to ISIS... nice move Obama and pals.

    August 12, 2014 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  9. Daniel

    The problem with Hillary pointing out all BO's flaws in foreign policy is that those were all her policies for 4 years

    August 12, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  10. Cindy

    Well I've got news for you all. The Dem Party is no less void of good potential presidential candidates than the Republicans and that includes Dizzy Lizzy.........................................

    August 12, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  11. Silence DoGood

    @Dominican mama 4 Obama
    Silence DoGood

    This MSM non-story of Dem in-fighting is just to attempt to balance the obvious angry, nasty GOP on GOP and GOP on TP conflicts
    -----------------–
    Unfortunately usually level-heads are picking this up and running with it....straight into a wall.
    --------------–
    Conservative talking heads have run out of actual coherent ideas so they go with this nonsense.

    August 12, 2014 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  12. Laughing2Hard

    Please , no MORE LIBERALS.. They have cursed everything they have touched, they have refused to take ANY responsibility despite having the reigns for 6.5 years...its like playing the slots and losing 3 weeks in a row but blaming the casino!! I am praying for a LANDSLIDE in the upcoming election!

    August 12, 2014 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. hussein ovomit

    Hey obama you want a chance? Tell cnn to shutup and due there jobs as journalist. They pretty much destroyed W by bashing him every single day 5 yrs straight. And they actually destroyed obama by lying and covering up everything he does. Fueling anger by being biased which in return also destroyed obama. So liberal liar cnn ruined the last 2 presidents

    August 12, 2014 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  14. good lord

    I have a deck of cards all of the bush cards were taking by the democratic party, but I have a biden and a Hillary card....so I have a chance of winning :)

    August 12, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  15. twidgets

    She was talking about doing nothing in Syria as being lame. This has nothing to do with Iraq. Axelrod can be "stupid" also it seems.

    August 12, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  16. langor1

    Wow, some zinger. In context, I'd call it an ironic comment.

    August 12, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  17. sly

    President Hillary Clinton will continue the excellant progressive success story of America.

    These are great times Americans – Thank you President Obama! One of the best ever.

    Both Hillary and Obama are good, middle-of-the-road Americans, neither right, nor left. That's why President Obama has won every single political battle with the loser party, which disintegrated 6 years ago.

    August 12, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  18. langor1

    Why does CNN even have a blog if it is censored so heavily.

    August 12, 2014 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  19. adongo23456

    Hillary may win the Democratic Party nomination but if she is going there to compete about who is more hawkish and "stupid" she will lose to the Republican party candidate. The core of the Democratic party will simply abandon her and stay home. Then she can wrestle in the mud with the pigs for their vote. They will eat her alive. Literally.

    August 12, 2014 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  20. langor1

    That is one accurately named press secretary.

    August 12, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  21. JJR

    Obama....the man who could have been a president vs Hillary the carpetbagger former secretary of state. Kind of fun watching the rats cannibalize each other.

    August 12, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  22. Nathaniel M. Tibbs

    Amen, to Axelrod. I am a Clinton supporter, but she was way out of line. I understand she has to say what is needed to win the presidential seat, but coming off w/ that kind of nonsense about how we should put more of our resources into Iraq is ludicrous! Talk about a dog chasing it's tail! Enough already.

    This country, THIS COUNTRY needs the President & it's whole government concentrating on getting it back to high standards it once was, instead of continuously pulling us all back into debt, vulnerability! Fix our own stuff here, then there may be room to fix stuff abroad...without doing stupid stuff!!!

    August 12, 2014 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  23. Sean

    Barack Obama was not a member of the Senate during the Iraq Authorization Legislation...

    August 12, 2014 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  24. insi10

    "Don't do stupid stuff" is an excellent foreign policy guiding principle.

    HOWEVER... automatic, hard-line pacifism is as stupid as automatic, hard-line warmongering.

    As a liberal Democrat with no illusions about the bad guys, I have long wondered why Obama has been reluctant to act. I think we see it here...Axelrod is one of those hard-line pacifists who seems to believe you can always talk your way out of a situation involving enemies.

    August 12, 2014 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  25. TheMacbeth

    sonny chapman,

    You're not seeing the big picture. The real question is, "What were Obama's objectives relative to Syria and did he meet those objectives?". What were Syria and Russia's objectives and did they meet their objectives?". If you look at the results objectively you'll find Syria and Russia were successful in meeting their objectives. They accomplished exactly what the wanted. They completed eliminated the US from the Syrian equation. While at the same time the US did not accomplish either of their two main objectives.

    After it was completed, Obama was like a kid sitting on the front porch eating cookies and milk; and claiming victory while the big boys (Syria and Russia) got their way on every issue.

    August 12, 2014 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
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