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. Billy Bob Joe Jimmy Boregaurd (the III) it because I used the word goat herder?

    November 15, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  2. Mark

    sitting on your hands doesn't help either.

    November 15, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  3. Thomas in Seattle

    Why all the talk about Republicans here? I agree with the people who say Republicans are irrelevant right now. They gave up their chance to lead with their incompetency the last several years. Why then is David Axelrod always talking about Republicans then? I suspect that he is trying to create an equivalency between President Obama and Rush Limbaugh or Mitt Romney or Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck so any of them can be blamed if things go wrong. Axelrod will need someone to blame. The "blame George W. Bush" argument will only go so much further.

    The problem with this strategy, Mr. Axelrod, is that Democrats have been too successful these last few years for this to work. There is not a major Republican elected official that the average person can name. "Watch out for that Boogey Man John Boehner," doesn't quite have the ring to it. The average person knows Democrats control the White House and Congress and soon, the courts.

    Mr. Axelrod is trying to push off the fact that Democrats have total control right now. He must be worried about what the next few years entails. He is desperately trying to pin future problems on Republicans. Sorry, I am not buying it.

    November 15, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  4. Rob

    Axelrod is absolutely right. Shut the piehole Mitt.

    November 15, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  5. once upon a horse

    I just don't understand why all these right wingers, the ones always crying "SUPPORT OUR TROOPS" seem so anxious to quickly send them into possible harm's way. I am glad we have a president that wants to think this thing through before puttting the lives of our men and women on the line. And in fact he DID make a decision, he decided he did not like what was offered at the time and for the officals to go back and come up with another plan. Plus unlike Bush, Obama is somewhat listening to the will of the people because Americans are tired of war and polls say that we are against sending more in. Not sure why the right doesn't see that..just more war and death is the only thing they can understand.

    November 15, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  6. James E

    Mitt needs to keep his complaint to himself because he is not in the league where decisions and deliberations are made. This is typical of the Republican party's tasks: Make quick decision and ask questions later. And you wonder why we are in the hole in Afghanistan when it should have been resolved long ago. I never heard the Republicans complaining when Bush took his time to make decisions on the Iraq surge even in the face of complaints from various policy makers and the Iraqi Group headed by James Baker.

    Adam November 15th, 2009 9:38 am ET

    And this is in comparison to all the vast experience Obama had before getting elected? Obama never ran anything but his mouth and now America is getting what we asked for: A big empty suit.

    Romney and Palin are one of many empty suits and yet the media clamor for their opinions even in subjects they do not know a thing about.

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

    again more humor for the campaign manager (new career in 2013?)

    Obama is taking the time to ensure the right [political] decision is made, Axelrod said." and "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."

    it took two years and a bombing of a military base for another democrat to do the right thing (p.s. ww2) and how many people died (albeit i am sure of the thoughts: a bunch a jews!)

    November 15, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  8. StreamOfConsciousness

    @ Good Riddance

    Let's not forget that trillion you speak of is the cost over a 10 YEAR period.

    November 15, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  9. Scott

    Mr. Axelrod is correct in saying that the decisions the President of the United States has to make are sometimes difficult decisions and shouldn't be rushed into. But the people of the United States then should have elected a President that was prepared to make those tough decisions in a timely manner. Mr. Axelrod, we've been waiting on President Obama to make the tough decision of lifting "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" since he arrived in office almost a year ago. What needs to be looked at and debated here. Are you telling me he didn't know the facts of what it would take, when he promised a portion of his electorate that he would get rid of the military ban on homosexuals? If he didn't know what he was talking about, what was he making promises for, and why isn't he taking action at a time, when he can almost assure that it will be passed in Congress when the Democrats have a majority in both houses, and a filibuster proof congress. Obama is only showing he isn't prepared to make these tough decisions. He is ok with the status quo, as long as it doesn't tarnish his pop star ego that he has woven to the people of the United States through the media. So don't go blaming Mitt Romney for the fact this President is afraid to make a decision. Will he take this long if we are actually attacked?

    November 15, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  10. Bill

    Hey" GOP–Toughl Talk No Action"; How are you so smart? Your president has never seen the inside of a barracks and anyone can list the dumbacraps that have avoided military service. Do you know the republican, or any presidents that have been in the military or even generals? This is a quiz. You probably don't know because all you liberals know is what someone tells you.... Including the liberal rag CNN.

    To think that a thug politician from Chicago link Axcelrod and Osama would have any knowledge of the military is just absurd. All they know is bully tactics and play for pay politics.

    Go outside and play and get off the computer!

    Go outside and play and get off the computor!

    November 15, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  11. Lone Wolf

    My 18 year-old nephew is in the Army and will most likely be going to Afghanistan early next year. I for one am glad that President Obama is is being pragmatic and deliberate.

    Bush and Cheney were impulsive, reckless,arrogant, and ignorant, and look where that got us. Thousands of our brave troops and innocent civilians have died needlessly or are maimed for life due to the previous administration's lack of planning and intelligent foresight.

    Abraham Lincoln was also criticized for being pragmatic and thoughtful during the Civil War–but, these qualities helped to win that war.

    Too bad the Repubs can't learn from him–wait, I forgot. The Repubs long ago ceased to be the "Party of Lincoln," and that is to their detriment.

    November 15, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  12. Marge Burley

    I was appallled by Romney's remarks! For eight years the Republicans screwed everything up! Taking the time to 'do it right' is better than they did which was 'doing everything wrong' without thought to the consequences. The deliberation on our 'war(s)' is necessary; and in the meantime, President Obama is working hard to fix our sad state of the economy.

    November 15, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. Dennis

    Romney at least had some basic understanding of economic issues unlike the chosen one.

    November 15, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  14. JMikey54

    Hey "common sense" you have no idea what you are talking about when you say that it would be different if Obama had a son or daughter over their fighting. As it happens Obama and our nation has thousands of sons and daughters over their! They are all are our children. Where is your patriotism?

    November 15, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  15. Dixon

    I guess Romney is upset that the big oil and Haliburton isn't at the table anymore. Obama is making an informed decision. I like that for a change from our government. I am sick of these Republicans who are so happy to send our troops off to a fight. We have seen how the Republicans have treated these wonderful soldiers when they return injured. Many of the tax cuts cost quality care for the vets. Many return over and over to fight while the republicans continue to find new ways to make money off the wars.

    November 15, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  16. Cougar

    Former Army:

    Are you saying only 1 in 100 Democrats / Progressives serve in the military? That is absolute BS, and you know it.

    November 15, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  17. Jerry in Florida

    Axle Rod (Oops, I meant Axelrod) is definitely an idiot, and so are the people and bloggers that are supporting his moronic comments. While President NObama sits on his butt and listens to his Arm Chair Generals, our service men and women are being viciously attacked not only in the battle fields, but also on our own soil. If this rookie of a president is not going to support our troops, then might as well bring all of them home and stop procrastinating.

    As for Mr. Axle Rod, he should stop being President NObama's attack dog. Whenever people disagree with President NObama’s policies, he sends his attack dogs to discredit the individual. If this trend continues, soon there will be no such a thing as freedom of speech. I never thought I would be ashamed of my Democratic Party colleagues. But my fellow Democrats have become the biggest liars ever. And of course they have had an experienced Teacher.

    America, PLEASE wake up. It's about time we rescued our country from the idiots that are trying to destroy the very fabric of our country.

    November 15, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  18. Terry, TX

    I so sick and tired of Alexrod....on the weekends...yes it is taking Barry too long to make a decision about the troops...I don't believe he has picked a long for a dog. But to send Gitmo trials to New York... no problem.... My message to president....wrong move...national security and cost....unnecessary.... one hair on a New Yorker is harmed.... Mr. and Eric Holder will have to resign. No more being politically correct now with soldiers massacred by a Terrorist.

    November 15, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  19. Chloe in Chatsworth, CA

    Rose November 15th, 2009 12:03 pm ET "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."

    Rose, how dare you? My mother's family has been American since 1639, my great + grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War, and no fanatic is telling me to leave my country because I don't listen to Fox News. We have a multiparty system, and all Americans have equal rights to their opinions and beliefs. This is EXACTLY what our service men and women are dying for. Disagreeing with you and the Republican Party is not treasonous. And, in spite of what Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh bloviate, the Democratic health care reform bills are no more likely to turn the USA into a socialist country than did Social Security, Medicare or the fire departments or public works systems.

    November 15, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  20. Oregonian

    Just one minor question to the people that are saying Obama is taking too long, including Mittens. How long did Bush take to decide on "The Surge" in Iraq? Hint: It was longerthantwo months.

    November 15, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  21. AstroTurf This

    This president can't make a decision to save his life. His only concern is about political advantage. He is using the military as a prop in photo-ops while putting their lives in danger. If he can't make a decision as president he needs to pull our troops out so they aren't sitting ducks.

    David Axelrod may not be intelligent enough to know that our ENEMIES are noticing how indecisive this president is....he is making Jimmy Carter look good and that is a travesty.

    November 15, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  22. Billy Bob Joe Jimmy Boregaurd (the III)

    People, please. Can't we all just get along. It takes time to figure out where to build all the hospitals, roads, bridges, schools, and parks over looking poppey fields. An aternate means of paying Karzai's pharmacutically oriented brother needs to be devised. But most difficult is figureing out how to get middle class America to cover the bill.

    November 15, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  23. Patriot

    Former Army:

    Everyone knows "W" dodged Vietman with the help of his wealthy family's influence. Also, I noticed that you had no comment regarding Cheney, Quayle, and Limbaugh.

    The fact is, wealthy politicians who have never experienced war will always send young men and women off to die. It's happened all throughout history, and will continue to happen.

    But it's the Repubs who are always screaming the loudest about war and patriotism, even if they've never fought in a war.

    November 15, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  24. Bob

    David, all you had to say was "Mitt Romney is a Republican"! That says it all, Greed – Liars – NO – anti America, etc.

    November 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  25. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    Hit 'em again, Ax.

    I remember all too well when the shrub and crew would blast dissenters as being "traitors" for critizing the shrub when the U.S. was engaged in a war.

    Now, that is all the "traitor" from the domestic "christian" taliban do is blast President Obama.

    Here is question to all the war hawk cons.

    You had 8 years to wrap this up, now you argue over a month???

    You are all hypocrtical anal sphincters!

    November 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
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