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. Grizzly

    Who cares about Romney? Who cares what any Repub has to say? Only 20% of the people even call themselves Repubs these days, and with good reason.

    November 15, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  2. tate

    Who would have thought we would ever have more of an incompetent coward than Jimmy Carter but Owhiner has already surpassed him.

    November 15, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  3. RON

    That is why we need a democrat as president as the republicans got us into this mess. Romney should stay retired for good.

    November 15, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. Wake UP

    Axelrod is a chicago crook. Check his scummy past. Obama is way over his head. The worst part of that is, he has awful ideas and believes in a govt. run economy. Help these poor troops at war....instead, all the white house does is ATTACK, ATTACK AND LIE.

    November 15, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  5. Terry, TX

    Romney is right....Alexrod is wrong...unemployment at 10.2% with trillions dollars of pork solutions....trillions for 20 million of American healthcare...when 280 million are happy with their healthcare..$24,000 for each $4,000 Cash for Clunker, $43,000 a house for a $8,000 cost $43,000, Bailouts, Now he wants Bailouts to Newspapers, Broke-Amtrak, SSN, Medicare, more bailout to Freddie and Fannie....

    Alexrod....America has already figured out you guys do not know what you are doing.....these are your solutions...the only good thing has been the leaving of CZAR Van Jones, Anita Dunn & now Craig. Get rid of the rest of the communist & socialists.

    November 15, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  6. Patriot

    Chloe in Chatsworth:

    Great post! These Repubs who keep telling other Americans to leave the country if they don't agree with them sound like a bunch of neo-fascists.

    November 15, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  7. John

    Obama was and still is not qualified for the job. Whether or not Romney is doesn’t matter.
    The fact is that we elected a "hope" without the real world experience for a tough demanding job.
    Obama has allowed unfettered access to the White House for all his financial supporters and now he is beholden to them.
    The dithering you are seeing is due entirely to a weak man trying to keep everyone happy. His ridiculous TV exposure is a clear indicator that he is concerned more about what people think of him than what is right for America. If you look at all the bad choices he has made in the past (Reverend Wright as his family pastor and advisor, for one), how do you expect him to be able to make the right choices for America.
    When this "Social Experiment" fails, and it will, our country will swing way back to the right. This is sad because that isn’t a good choice either. Sarah Palin is a moron and I could never support her either. That still doesn’t change the fact that Obama is out of his depth and is damaging the country every day he remains in office.

    November 15, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  8. Louis

    I hope that Obama takes his time and gets its right!!!

    A President should NEVER dispatch troops to fight a war with providing the tools to win the conflict and a proper exit from that conflict. The Bush folks did not do that and 8 years later, we are still paying for that crucial error. We may lose additional troops if our next moves are not thoughfully thought thru.

    Also, 40K troops are not going to come from thin air. It could be a year or more before we can meet this mandate. If those that are so eager to continue this conflict, please report to the nearest recruiting office and enlist. Otherwise, let the duly elected Commander in Chief do his job!!!

    November 15, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  9. Dan, TX

    It must be amusing to God to see so many people arguing about things that they no nothing about. On both sides of this issue, everyone posting here is an ignorant fool. I understand that most of you immaturely post here to vent your frustration with your little lives.

    None of your comments are worth the time to read. You are all pathetic.

    November 15, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  10. CCS

    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.
    So Bush, Cheney an Ashcroft should have resigned after 9/11?

    November 15, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  11. common sense

    Conservatives had their chance for 8 years and failed miserably. Now it’s time for all of you to just pipe down and let the grown ups clean up your mess…once again.

    Let me dumb it down for you conservatards a bit more. When you catch your home on fire through gross incompetence, you don't get to stand around whining about the amount of water used to put it out. People just wont take you seriously anymore. That's why we had the results in 06 and 08 and that’s why you can expect the same in 10 and 12.

    Have a nice day now.

    November 15, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  12. James

    As a veteran of both Afghanistan and Iraqi campaigns, I for one am happy that we actually have a leader that is carefully considering the options and the consequences. We had too many years of decisions being made from the gut, not the brain.

    November 15, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  13. Sgt. at Arms

    The last time there was a Knee-Jerk reaction to making decisions
    about war via the republcans, it got us into a mess.

    Now is the time to just let the REAL military professionals along with
    President Obama unwind this ball of twine that Bush and the
    republicans got this country into.

    NOW they want to speculate and criticize the clean up crew.

    November 15, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  14. niah

    Thank you Mr. President for not making a quick decision on this matter. Thank you Mr President for making an unplanned stop to speak with family members who have lost love ones at Arlington last week. Thank you Mr President for not rushing into this decision and for looking at the whole picture, which we the people can not see. Thank you Mr President for not feeling pressure from people who are just trying to get air time. We appreciate you Mr President for taking time sending our son's and daughters in harm ways and all the other issues war brings to the people of these United States of America.

    November 15, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  15. Mamushka

    Well if you want to talk about lies, how about the one we heard that within 120 days we would be pulling out our troops. Here is one fact that everyone needs to remember: Politicians lie and we should fly the Jolly Roger over the capital instead of the what we have.

    November 15, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  16. Perusing-through

    Tomorrow's print headline:

    (. . . and deservedly so)

    November 15, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  17. wagon

    Axelrod is a clown and a buffon. Doesn't he know that Obama had no experience making any kind of decision before he became president.

    The 2010 election is going to be a bloodbath for the democrats. They may not lose the majorities, but it's going to be close. Most normal think folks have the BHO administration figured out as nothing but a bunch of far-left leaning children.

    10.2% and going higher!!! Congrats to you who voted for this embicile.

    November 15, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  18. Mamushka

    Democrats need to deal with the attacks. Obama is a liar and blowhard. He isn't even a US citizen, legally.

    November 15, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  19. Innkeeper

    Obama is playing politic with American lives, that is clear. To say no will show that he does not support the military and to say yes will antagonize him base, the left . By doing nothing he does the least amount of harm to his stature and I'm sure in his advisors thinking- who knows, the situation over there might change and the additional troups might not be needed or something bad might occur that would force his hand to sent more troups.

    November 15, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  20. Billy Bob Joe Jimmy Boregaurd (the III)

    Oh yeah, oh yeah! You're a Redumbican!

    November 15, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  21. Mike Dallas

    “We've seen in the past what happens when we don't do that; when we don't do the necessary preparations.”

    Had the AWOL Bush and the 5 time draft dodger Cheney not acted from the "gut" but been more deliberative, 4500 young Americans may still be alive, not to mention all the ones maimed.

    November 15, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  22. good things are coming---S Callahan

    Personally, I don't think it is unwise to take your time and get it right...but despite all the negotiations on trying to do it must know that if you leave the Lord out of the will be naught.
    This is not just a issue of protecting innocent civilians...this goes way back to the days when men split from worshiping the same, one true God. Ideology became the devil. It's God's will to unite all as one body but the masses have yet to understand fully the division and the deceptive hand that has been upon it. Keep praying.

    November 15, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  23. William

    In my pathetic life, I fight after being attacked. After eight years, the mandate to fight is less. Our only remaining achievable mission is to secure Pakistan's nukes form the Taliban.

    November 15, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  24. woodburn

    Bush didn't need to give careful consideration to starting another Vietnam like war ! He just puffed out his chest and said " bring it on!"

    November 15, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  25. Brad

    wow... testy testy ...

    a lot of emotions on this one. yeah, how dare anyone question the president. amusing. you guys can dish it out for 8 years but can't take a little criticism. welcome to the big-time dems. now it's on you. not so easy from this side of things is it? hopefully your skin will get thicker and your whining will lessen. you should be happy – the job is now yours. tears over criticism will do you no good.

    now to Mr Romney's point – he's right. 10 months and no plan for Afghan war. the president was supposed to come in with solutions and here we are without one. the biggest issues coming into the elections were Iraq/Afghanistan, the economy, and healthcare. what happened to his 'plan' for all those issues that he kept talked about? guess that was all hot air. ok, you didnt have one, got it. but now we've given you 10 months to come up with one for these issues. seems like you got one for healthcare, great. still nothing for Iraq/Afghan wars and economy? unacceptable. as president you have to be able to make sound decisions on multiple fronts – that's just part of the job. if you can't handle that we'll find a replacement.

    Romney's best line to Obama a couple months back was 'focus, focus, focus'. Apparently Obama hasn't taken that advice.

    wait, before you start steaming... no whining – remember, it's your turn now. put up or shut up.

    November 15, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
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