August 12th, 2014
11:32 AM ET
1 month 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. Charlie

    I love it! They are fighting..how cute!

    August 12, 2014 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  2. jschm

    Clinton voted for the war. But Axelrod is just a liberal tool trying to save face for Obama, the incomeptent

    August 12, 2014 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  3. edmundburkeson

    Sounds like a slap against Bush not Hillary. I think they need psych therapy at this point. They are so obsessed with the past they can't deal with the present.

    August 12, 2014 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  4. Subramanian Venkatraman

    "I was stupid to vote for war on Iraq." is worse than "Don't do stupid stuff!". Can't she see that the "Don't do stupid stuff!" should be the first organizing principle? I have not heard Hillary talking anything about her "organizing principle" when the Syrian issue came up and Obama was responding to it as he thought fit. Only morally bankrupt people who sway with the wind come out with their 'intelligent' stuff AFTER the fact, to show off the 'intelligence' they are stuffed with. An Indian proverb says when one is near his doom, his intelligence takes a turn! How true! She has lost probably even her primary!

    August 12, 2014 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  5. Phil in KC

    I'm not a big fan of Hillary. I probably won't vote for her in the primaries. But I'm not sure who else, at this point, can mount a serious threat against the republicans in 2016. And I'll take her over a Republican president any day of the week. Since Goldwater won the nomination in '64, the Republicans just keep going farther and farther to the right. A moderate Republican is now an oxymoron.

    August 12, 2014 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  6. Dr. Jack

    You don't get it!!

    Axelrod has just applied for a new job with Obama. The twitter was his application!!

    He will get it soon!!

    August 12, 2014 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  7. Dan

    Learning from mistakes is a sign of intelligence. Hillary will make an outstanding President. She is a pragmatist in a world that needs pragmatic leaders not dogmatic leaders.....whether on the left or the right.

    August 12, 2014 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. acheptle

    She will probably win no matter what....Tea Party will just run another out of touch religious kook, so it is already done.

    August 12, 2014 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  9. luke brown

    How about don't say stupid stuff to distance yourself from a 42% approval ratings in the effort of getting votes. But then again this is Washington. Obama did holla "Change" from the top of the mountain, did he not?

    August 12, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  10. Srcactus

    Pot and kettle! Have at it.
    Let the stupid stuff continue
    Temporarily,

    August 12, 2014 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  11. tsl

    what is the world coming to when the liberals start fighting among themselves. the butcher wants to be president, how cute.

    August 12, 2014 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  12. amarjeet

    Hillary Clinton was Secretary of States for 4 years. She did not make any impact nor left landmark solution to any problem. Use of any words like “Stupid" should never be in the language of Secretary or ex Secretary of USA. There are better and positive options. She admitted that she authorized war in Iraq being a Senator. It is all in history as well people know it. But to differ with President Obama and her own husband Bill Clinton ex-President policy does not speak of her good bearing and chances to be President of USA. There can never be any error by President sometime actions are taken based on intelligence which never is 100% accurate and correct but is likely to emerge in future development from human behavior in public and private. Leadership never does wrong because others do wrong. Leader will prefer to go alone than joining others to be part of crowd and blend to seek excuse in future. Hillary coming up with differences in policy with President Obama after relinquishing office is just to get to media and create case for 2016 Presidential Election that will not hold water and healthy for her. Arming rebels in Syria in absence of specific, organized and recognized opposition was certainly was not a good policy as chances of funneling arms to terror groups were endless. However as Secretary of States she could have had some outreach to such elements with legal entity which she did not or not known to people of America. Moreover she never resigned with differences but on health reasons.

    August 12, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  13. ed

    Mr Axelrod forgets. Hillary voted with W to go into Iraq. And that fact, more than most believe, will haunt her thru the primary.

    August 12, 2014 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  14. sly

    Future President Clinton is correct – nations need guiding principles.

    Unfortunately, there is no one on earth who has the solution to the Israel-Palestinian or Syria-Radical Rebel conflicts.

    America simply needs intelligent, progressive Presidents, like Obama, or Clinton, who can make the best decisions. For the past 6 years, President Obama has proven to be the most effective foreign policy president since FDR.

    August 12, 2014 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  15. funny2me

    Does it seem funny to anyone else that the President and his former Secretary of State, who are on the same "team", are saying that they don't now, and never did, see eye to eye on foreign policy. So whose policy were they enacting when she was in that role? No wonder we are where we are right now. I bet Putin is getting a big laugh over this!

    August 12, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  16. ricke1949

    Two legs good, four legs better.

    August 12, 2014 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  17. Eagle0841

    First Obama takes full credit for troops leaving Iraq. Now he says the withdrawal of troops from Iraq was not his responsibility. So he was for the withdrawal before he was against it? Isn't that Kerry's line? Is Obama a plagiarist?

    August 12, 2014 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    I thought Axlerods venom was reserved for Republicans and conservatives who are against Obama because they're "racists". I guess Hillary now falls in that select group. LOL,LOL!

    August 12, 2014 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  19. Big_D

    This is why Elizabeth Warren is a better candidate. Hillary is Bush lite on war.

    August 12, 2014 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  20. endofliferitual

    I came here thinking that Axelrod actually smack tweeted Hillary. Clearly he didn't, so I'll leave here now, wondering to some degree why the heck I allowed myself to be click-baited by this site again.

    August 12, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  21. bkgrandma

    If she thinks becoming a war hawk will help her become president, she better think again. President Obama believes that the United States alone should not police the world and most people agree with him. She definitely won't win over any Republicans but she definitely could loose some of us Dems.

    August 12, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  22. Darren

    Good to see david has moved past blaming things on Bush ...

    August 12, 2014 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  23. Darren

    Gotta love hillary having it both ways. Calls Obama to say she is not attacking him so she can placate democrats and then turns around and attacks him so she can appear more main stream. I cant believe I agreed with her statements – make me wonder if she is saying what people want to hear rather than what she truly believes.

    August 12, 2014 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  24. Bob

    Whether or not you believed that going to Iraq as "Stupid", you have to admit that pulling out and abandoning the country was stupid. Sometimes you have a hand dealt to you and it is irresponsible to just look the other way and ignore it due to political reasons. I campaigned on pulling all troops out, therefore I will regardless of the reality of the existing situation is beyond stupid and completely void of any sort of reasoned leadership. I guess they can just pull out the "It's Bush's fault" card once more.

    August 12, 2014 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  25. billbl

    Hillary and John McCain should make a good team for American warmongers.

    August 12, 2014 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
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