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)

    Obama is doing the right thing by taking his time coming to a conclusion as to what to do in Afganistan. Just remember what Bush and Cheney have placed this country into by their "rush to judgement".
    We should have never invaded Iraq and because we did there were not enough resources available to find and capture or kill Osama bin Laden in Afganistan. Romney should really think about what he says bbefore talking to the media.

    November 15, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  2. vic nashville , Tn

    To Mitt Romney

    We have to capture Osama bin Laden not Saddam Husain . Our military was so close to Osama bin Laden but Bush changed his the plan invaded Iraq So republican can’t criticize Obama

    In south east Asia
    India doesn’t like Pakistan
    Afghan government doesn’t like Pakistan
    Enemies enemy my friend it is total mess there we have to bring this three countries together
    When you have this mess It will take time to decide good strategy

    I request republicans don’t listen to FOX or Rush read the world politics in internet

    We know our forces need more help we have to send more forces but we have to make sure our troops come home safe

    November 15, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  3. Terry from West Texas

    Chamberlain wrote: "The fact is that the American military presence in Afghanistan is infantilizing the Afghani people and taking away their right to self-determine."

    Barkatansky wrote: "Axelrod is a coward. So is Obama."

    Because Conservatives are not FOR anything, they can criticize everything. They can criticize Obama for not putting ENOUGH troops in Afghanistan and simultaneously criticize him for having TOO MANY troops in Afghanistan. They can criticize him for going to the summit and – if he stayed home – criticize him for staying home.

    It is the hyena strategy. When a pack of hyenas picks out a target, they harry the victim to death. One hyena is biting your tail while another is biting your foreleg. When you turn to face the one biting your tail, another bites your hind leg. No matter where you turn, two or three hyenas are biting your backside.

    This, to Conservatives, is debate. Criticize your opponent endlessly for anything and everything. Because Conservatives don't believe in anything, they can criticize everything. The goal is not to make America a better place. The goal is to destroy your opponent and have a nice meal.

    November 15, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  4. joc,alabama

    Sounds like shut the hell up if you don't know what you're talking about to Old Mitt there.

    November 15, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  5. Seattle Sue

    Maybe Mr. Romney could best protect America by taking his five sons and himself to fight in Afghanistan.

    November 15, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  6. good riddance

    @ Sheri November 15th, 2009 9:50 am ET

    Oh wait, you mean like the cheap shots Obama threw at Bush while campaigning and making promises to shut down Gitmo when he didn't have "all the information the president had"? Glad you're talking about that now, instead of back then. BTW, is Gitmo closed yet?

    General McChrystal has the information, and he asked for more troops. I bet you Dems will start saying next how HE doesn't know what he's talking about...

    November 15, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  7. 7papa7

    Romney is absolutely right. Obama has had OVER 2 months to make a decision since the request for additional troops was made. They problem is that this neophyte is incapable of making a decision in a timely fashion because he is not capable of leading only talking. Over 100 brave men and women have died since the generals request and Obama is sitting on his hands and doing absolutely nothing. He should try to take the lead and do what is right and not politically beneficial to him like he always does. I guess they are not his kids that are getting killed out there so why does he care. Make a decision Obama for once in your life, do something and accept responsibility for your decisions. It is long past time for that. You want immediate action on socialized medicine but won't make a decision that would save the lives our military heroes.

    November 15, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  8. Darby

    Bush/Cheney and company dicked around the Afghanistan conflict for almost eight years. They never had a clear goal or exit strategy. What they left there for Obama to resolve was nothing more than a formula for failure. Obama and his team are trying to take that set of conditions and come up with something that they think will work. People like Romney and the whole Fox News fantasy world mindset have a kneejerk, negative response to anything the President does, regardless of the consequences for our country. They do not love America, they love their obsolete and juvenile idea of what it should be like.

    November 15, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  9. joe terrrogano

    Arm chair generals always have such strong views, in ignorance. The corporate raider has absolutely no background experience, just Republican talking points and negativity. Stick to haircuts, posing, and expensive suits Mitt. Oh Yeah, McCain kicked your butt in the last election.

    November 15, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  10. proud dem in nc

    Finally, a president who is taking his time and weighing the options before charging ahead like John Wayne, guns blazing. We are in this mess because Bush acted first, without any thought of what the mission is and without any type of exit strategy. Take your time President Obama, and get it right. We know that you will. Too much is at stake. Romney is an opportunist moron. If he is such an expert on such matters, why didn't he get the GOP nomination instead of J. Mac. Republicans are such hate mongering, losers!! Give it up Mitt.!!!!

    November 15, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  11. lori

    It really doesnt matter what he thinks or says...seriously...

    November 15, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  12. Razorback

    Maybe if they spent as much time figuring out their strategy in Afghanistan as they do responding to every Republican's criticism they would have it figured out by now! I have no problem with taking the time to do it right the first time, but concentrate on the problem at hand, not snappy comebacks!

    November 15, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  13. Mark

    Romney is just looking for attention by trying to create an issue. He doesn't have a clue as to the truth or facts.

    November 15, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  14. Linda

    Romney. along with Cheney and the rest of the war mongers need to just shut up. I am so pleased that for the President is actually thinking about what it means to send more troops to risk their lives for us- Cheney found ways not to go when he was asked, Romney has never served yet they are so gung ho for other people's children to die- for what? Cheney's war was for greed – he and his cronies made billions of profits in Iraq and cared nothing for what it did to our great nation. So shut up, Romney, shut up Palin, shut up Cheney- we did NOT elect you – thank God. We have an intelligent thoughtful leader who does not look for war profits for his friends, like you do.

    November 15, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  15. Chris

    In condemning Romney, Axelrod only demonstrates a lack of competence, good will, and perspective. Romney's view on this issue is that instead of pandering, playing politics, and waiting it out, we should take action.

    Interestingly enough, when it comes to stealing our tax money, as Americans, Obama is not hesitant at all (see ridiculous stimulus package ). When it comes to killing the unborn, Obama is ready at a moment's notice to sign any pro-abortion legislation. But when it comes to protecting and defending liberty, Obama is all about "an extended timetable."

    Taking lessons right out of the playbook of Jimmy Carter is going to lead Obama right down the path where he belongs: to re-election failure.

    November 15, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  16. mikeB

    most of you idiots need to realize that Axlerod never spoke of experience....just situational awareness of military tactics and strategy....

    That the PRESIDENT, not some GOVERNOR has access too...and even with that, Obama is still smart enough to talk to and listen to his military advisers.

    Romney needs to stay in the picture somehow...and opening his mouth with something so ignorant is his way

    Obama won, its his call, support him now, vote against him latter if you like, get OVER it, or leave my country.

    November 15, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  17. Fed up Monority

    General Colin Powell say the President should not rush to make a decision.......I Agree......What Military backround does Mitt have.....who is advising him.....for those that say President Obama doesn't have a backround.......he has people under him that do you guy make such weak arguments to justify your dislike......If Mitt sends one of his might give him just a little credibility...not much...but you know what I'm trying to say.

    November 15, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  18. Forrest

    When bigots take over, they get us into wars that mangle our youth & wreck their minds with trauma.

    The bushers should realize that until presidents & congressmen are willing to send their own children to die, kill, mame, be mamed, and go through mental torture, rash decisions will be made.

    I would feel very uncomfortable with a neighbor that loves to jump into war decisions quickly... they seem a little gun happy and I wouldn't even wish my children see this side of humans that is wicked.

    November 15, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  19. artie lange

    Vic Nashiville – When were we close to catching Osama Bin Laden? I thought the only time we were close was back when Clinton was president.

    November 15, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  20. Willy Brown

    A slam. Go figure

    November 15, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  21. katiec

    When will the party of NOthing ever start showing some concern about the survial of our country domestically and internationally?
    Have yet to see the GOP admit or acknowledge that their leadership these last eight years almost destroyed our country. Yet, they continue to lie, distort inciting hate, anger, division of our country with their swiftboating activities. Their main goal of destroying our president, consequently our country is leading them down the path of becoming our countries most dangrous, domestic terrorists.

    November 15, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  22. Dennis C

    I don't care how long it takes President Obama to make his decision. I want him to make the correct decision, period.

    November 15, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  23. Bren

    In Obama world..................

    The safety/security of our military against terrorists---and the safety/security of US citizens against terrorists---are not urgent issues to him.

    However, spending billions of tax payers dollars--are always urgent issues to him.

    Shoving his socialist agendas down our throats--are always urgent issues to him.

    Less than a year until the 2010 elections---when the power/control begins to be taken away from Obama and the Democrats!!!!

    November 15, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  24. Mac

    What frightens me is not these isolated events of aggression but what they mean when looked at as one big picture. It seems the GOP has been getting more and more angry and less and less rational since 9/11, and losing big in the last elections pushed them over the deep end. I've never seen a single group of people act more selfishly and be more angry about things that they clearly don't understand than the GOP in the last 12 months. Its absurd how insane they've become, and its frightening how they will sacrifice everything including their own principals to take action on that anger against anyone who doesn't agree with them. Future conservatives will look back on this time and shake their heads in shame.

    November 15, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  25. Illinostom

    I find this administration's inability to shift from partisan campaigning to governing quite astonishing. Of course, they are Chicago Machine Democrats, and perpetual demonizing of the opposition is "the Chicago way."

    November 15, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13