November 15th, 2009
12:53 PM ET
10 years ago

Axelrod slams Romney

(CNN) – A top adviser to President Barack Obama says Mitt Romney should hold his criticism until he knows what he’s talking about.

In a pre-taped interview for Sunday’s :“State of the Union” program on CNN, Obama senior advisor David Axelrod fired back at criticism by Romney that the president was taking too long to decide on whether to send more troops to Afghanistan.

“I know that Gov. Romney has never had responsibility for any decision akin to this, so he just may not be familiar with all that it entails,” Axelrod said of the former Massachusetts governor.

Obama held his eighth meeting with his war council of senior Cabinet and Pentagon officials last week to further consider a request by his commanding general in Afghanistan to send up to 40,000 more troops to bolster the 68,000 already committed.

Axelrod called the deliberation process, which has lasted more than two months, a necessity when considering the lives of American troops involved and the enormous investment by the United States.

He noted that the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who made the troop request, have supported Obama’s decision-making steps so far.

Republicans criticize the president for moving too slowly to supply the troops that McChrystal says are necessary for a successful mission. They accuse Obama of both indecisiveness and playing politics by delaying an answer that may anger his liberal support base.

In a speech last week, Romney complained Obama was making campaign appearances on behalf of fellow Democrats while failing to resolve the Afghanistan troop question. Romney also questioned why Axelrod, whom he described as a political operative, was involved in meetings on Afghanistan.

Axelrod responded that he attends the meetings as an observer so he can communicate to the news media and public what is going on.

“I have not said a word in any of those meetings,” Axelrod said.

He also criticized Romney for unfairly characterizing Obama’s actions.

“Gov. Romney has to choose one argument or another,” Axelrod said. “Either he has to say he (Obama) is not paying attention or he has to say he is taking too long because he has been involved in a rigorous review.”

Obama is taking the time to ensure the right decision is made, Axelrod said. In a dig at the previous Republican administration, Axelrod added: “We've seen in the past what happens when we don't do that; when we don't do the necessary preparations.”

soundoff (308 Responses)
  1. CJ/PA

    To JB: Thank you for the reasonable, rational and common sense response. The division right now is so wide, I don't know if we can ever heal. People are like sheep, following whatever their assumed "leaders" say, and you are right - until we, as Americans, do our own research and have minds of our own regarding the information we find, we will remain a divided Nation.

    November 15, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  2. Black Viper

    The fact is that all republicans are searching for popularity for the 2012 elections.
    Each one of them is trying to appeal to the base by saying stupid and unintelligent stuff because the base is just full of hate and they have no sense of rational thinking at all as long the view you express is against the president or you are criticizing the president for their delight.
    That is the fact.

    November 15, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  3. Bill

    I praise the muslim for not wanting to kill no more of his peeps. GLY

    November 15, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  4. Rose

    Thank God for people like Mitt Romney. If we do not speak out against acts of treason against our country we are doomed to destruction. All that our fore fathers went through to establish this great land and formed a constitution as a guide is being lost in the name of liberalism. We have elected a entry level employee as CEO of this great nation. Sadly those of us who value our freedom and love of America have to pay the price for our misguided citizens who blindly voted this incomptent man as our leader. So many of these posters blindly go back to GWB as though they have to have a scape goat for this presidents incomptance. Man up and admit you make a mistake in electing Obama as president. He is not one of us he is a product of all his radical friends, and Rev. Wright. Can't you all see what is right before your eye's. Are you in denial because you voted for Obama. Freedom is a gift, and not to be taken for granted. You are for America or against it. If you are against it then go to some other country where you fit in. Don't try to make the USA into a socialist country. That is not what our service men and women are dying for.

    November 15, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  5. Alan

    Obama is taking his time because he has no idea what he’s doing. While Romney’s never been President and made those decisions Obama is STILL a complete neophyte in administrative work. He is a politician and everything he does is weighted for its political value; that includes health care and the decision on troops for Afghanistan.

    November 15, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  6. Former Army

    Did Axelrod serve? Did Obama serve? Did they dodge the draft or just claim another country as their residence?

    November 15, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. Chip Pudims

    Axelrod's comment reflects the ultimate in hypocrisy. What experience does Obama have in matters like this? Oh, that's right he was on the campaign for the last 3 years and still at it. It is becoming more evident every day there's a small group of Chicagoans who are the brains behind the Obama personality and their record is suspect at best. Accomplishments, none! Broken campaign promises, too many to count, but let's look at the biggies; change: the only change has been who influences the White House, unions, ACORN, trial lawyers, the list goes on and on and transparency: the only transparency provided by this administration has been transparency to the Bush administration. Working with lobbyists, congress, union leaders, etc has all been behind closed doors.

    November 15, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  8. Bill

    How could this Yahoo of an administration criticize anyone for not knowing what they are talking about???????? Axeldumb is clueless and Obama lacks any knowledege of how to act as commander in chief. He just wants to play war games.

    These are real live soldiers Axelrod and Obama; ask someone that understands the military process; listen to the generals on the ground, not the yahoos that you have around you.

    We do not need a bunch of know-nothings trying to run a war with real live soldiers...Axelrod, Obama: step aside and let real men make these decisions.

    November 15, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  9. Bear

    No one but the measly 20% of people who claim to be Repubs cares what a Repub has to say. Repubs are a dying party, and it shows.

    November 15, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  10. Sandy M

    I cannot believe the big discussion on your informative network this Sunday morning was Presidents Obama's bow to the Chinese and its symbolism to negative all the good things he is trying to do for the nation. The discussion speaks to the obvious socially narcissistic attitude that plagues the news world and the irresponsibility with which you handle views just to make some content. To those of us who are highly educated it's quite very pathetic. Please do something different for the up coming year. I was going to say thank you but how can I think you will appreciate the criticism when you can actually air such folly.

    November 15, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  11. Flex

    When anyone challenges the flamboyant stupidity that flies out of the mouths of neo-cons they complain that they're being told to shut up. This is a transparent lie, and a perfect example of the cognitive distortion that they suffer from. The feeling that they should shut up comes from within. It is a gut instinct telling them that they are wrong, but they are encouraged by other neanderthal orangutans to continue their reckless, ignorant tirade.

    So, neocons, when you think you have the answers to everything, you will be checked, and cross checked. If you don't like it, shut up!

    November 15, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  12. Lisa

    Mitt Romney never even made it to the final count down, mnnn.......Romneys accusation of dereliction of duty is appaling! Bush Jr. and Cheney should be in prison for their dereliction. Need Romney be reminded that we are in this position because of the dereliction of that pair of circus clowns? Never mind the war, lets talk about Wall Street! That was on the watch of the circus clowns! Obama needs to take all the time necesary to make this decision. Is the wait frustrating? Of course it is. Especially for those of us who are waiting for our childrens orders to go to war. However while I sit and wonder if my son will be deployed, I am comforted in knowing that the decision to send him, has been very clearly thought out and negotiated. I am also comforted by the fact that Romney, and Palin have absolutely NO say so in this terrifying decision that Obama is faced with.
    If Obama were to have made an overnight decision, he would have been accused of being reckless and foolish. There is no rest for the wicked, and you holyer than thou rrebublicans need to get over the fact that you lost your ass, and work as a team! This hate and discontent between the 2 parties sounds almost like what is going on in the middle east!

    November 15, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  13. charlie in Maine

    Good the best defense is a good offense

    November 15, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  14. Jaimon

    Where were all the Democrat warmongers during the Bush years? The Taliban have no history of terrorism outside of Afghanistan and Pakistan. They do NOT pose a clear and present danger to the security of the US. Al Qaeda is a proven international threat and we're ignoring their resurgence in Indonesia and Somalia. Pull out of Afghanistan now.

    November 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  15. Larry, San Antonio

    How did it work the last time the "wingers" fought a war for us? We might easily handle the problems in Afganistan if the "W", "Darth Vader" and "Rummy" trio hadn't lied our way into Iraq – where we're still mired down in corruption. It takes a giant pair to criticize the way President Obahma is taking time to plan! "We don't need no sissy planning... He should just fly in and declare the "Mission Accomplished! Look how well that worked for President Bush's idiot son.

    November 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  16. jrzshor

    for a neophyte admin it is SO FUNNY for them to utter statements such as axlerod (a campaign manager) did when he said "I know that Gov. Romney has never had responsibility for any decision akin to this, so he just may not be familiar with all that it entails,”

    hey axlerod. neither did/does obama!!!

    November 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  17. Bruce from Cypress Texas

    The longer Obama takes to make a decision... more of our troops die everyday in Afghanistan. He is in China now, and maybe he is waiting for Kwai Chang Caine to come and tell him "Grasshopper...when you can walk the rice paper, it will time for you to go".

    November 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  18. leah in florida

    Thank God we have a thoughtful and intelligent President who takes American lives seriously. I can't imagine a more complex decision.

    The west's hiistory of military failures in Afghanistan should remind any thinking person how difficult "success" will be – do Mitt or the Republicans remember Russia's efforts in Afghanistan?????

    Life and death decisions like risking the lives of our soldiers in very nonconventional warfare in geographically difficult area should take extremely careful consideration.

    Obama is doing the right thing! The idiots who second guess him are the same fools who pushed to rush into war in Iraq to find the non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction! Some people (Republicans really) never learn!

    November 15, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  19. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Romney is beginning to look more and more like Palin, not getting his facts straight, I thought he was smarter than this. I guess Romney is recognizing the only way to get ahead with the Republican party is to just lie and distort the facts and really you can't blame him.

    November 15, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  20. DEM in HI

    Amazing how the GOP let Bush ruin this country for 8 years and we fought the wrong war and they never said a thing. Now they are experts on what is needed to win a war that was ignored for years. We are repeating the Vietnam history again if we think the military will win without having a stable government in place. I agree we need to do better in planning a strategy that contains economic and military incentives for Afghans government to step up, or we will lose face for fighting the wrong war.

    November 15, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  21. Ryan

    So many of these comments are really redneck....

    Obama is taking his time with the decision because unlike our last President and every Republican under the sun, Obama understands that these troops are humnans with families and lives.

    They are not pawns... they are not toys... war is not a game.

    To Bush, the military was an extension of his iron fist and unlimited resources.... he never once thought about one particular soldier and the weight of life or death – He didn't care. The military is to be respected, not used as a disposable way of getting what you want from other countries.

    November 15, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  22. c.w. hauser

    Why are you'll keep trying to pump up S Palin's book??? That's fox news job!! I'm surprised that she can write and spell !!! Just report the facts please!!!

    November 15, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  23. Former Army

    Reagan was commissioned in the army reserves; he was later disqualified for poor eyesight. That is not dodging WWII. How many libs serve? 1 out of 100?
    W served, he was a pilot in the reserves. Are the reserves not good enough for you peace-corps folks?

    November 15, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  24. James D

    This is just my opinion so it dosent matter much but here goes , Obama was not a military man , but now he is in charge of our military, the cheif general in charge is a career military man with many many years serving his country ,so i tend to lean to the side with the most experiance , when a general ask for more troops he needs them now not 2 or 3 months later after several hundered more americans die , people are being killed waiting on an answer from a man who is nowhere near qualified to make that decision , we as americans have bumper stickers that say support our troops, we have signs, we have coffee mugs, tee shirts , ect ,but our leader is the one person who won't support our troops if the people who know what they are doing need more troops the it is his job to see that they get them as soon as possible to save as many lives as possible stop flying around like a playboy and send the reinforcements today!!!!! at least accomplish one thing your first year in office ...just one thing at least !!!!

    November 15, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  25. Military Wife

    German,Irish American: Not sure I agree with you on the assertion that military voters choose Republican candidates. That certainly wasn't true in our household this past election. I work on an Army post in the DC area and can tell you anecdotally that during the last election I encountered more Soldiers, esp. senior officers, who voted for Obama instead of McCain. Many are former Republicans (like me) who got fed up with the GOP's fear mongering and exploitive tactics which have only worsened since the election. It may also interest you to know that Democratic leaders have historically been better on veterans issues. My husband is currently deployed and I for one appreciate the President seriously weighing how many more troops he sends. Many Soldiers are doing 3rd tours in Iraq already. They, their spouses and children deserve the careful consideration this issue merits!

    November 15, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
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