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. sifto77

    And who is Axelrod? A former so-called liberal journalist? What qualifies him for the job he has? Romney has been a Governor and a leader. Can't say the same about Axelrod.

    November 15, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  2. medicynic

    Maybe if Bush et al took a little more time in 2001 we wouldn't have lost 4000 plus men in Iraq and would have done something then about Osama, Afganistan and Pakistan.

    We need understand the limitations of our positions, the corruption of Karzai and the capabilities of Pakistan before commiting.

    November 15, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  3. Samurai Cowboy

    Romney, Cheney and the rest of the warmongers want more troops sent to Afghanistan because they are all war profiteers. Cheney still runs Halibutron, albeit secretly, and Romney probably has investments in companies with critical DoD contracts like M-RAPS, UAV's, etc.

    November 15, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  4. rw

    Mitt: The very rich guy wirth the six very handsome sons who when they were asked in a TV interview if they would volunteer for military service collectively looked like deers in the headlights, until one son said "NO". Typical well off politician with children: quickly offering to send other families' kids to war; a war his our own kids refuse to fight. nor is there any evidence he is encouraging his kids to volunteer for the fight (or any other service to this country).

    November 15, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  5. Ridgeway

    Hey there Axe Man. Your boss has never made decisions like this either and he still can't. Hell, it took him weeks to decide what kind of dog he wanted. Difference being American troops weren't dying while he chose his dog.
    Additionally, here's a hint "Governor Romney". Governor? What would that imply? A position of leadership at the state level. What's your daddy Hussein ever run besides a corrupt fund raising organization.
    And lose the comb over. You're not fooling anyone.

    November 15, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  6. Bev

    The MAJORITY in our country have now figured out-–Obama and his Administration are NO GOOD for our country.

    They are no good at protecting US citizens from terrorists on US soil, they are no good at doing what is right for our troops, they are destroying our economy, we are now seeing unemployment rates that we have not seen for 25 years, etc,.

    Independents now support Republicans 52% to 30%

    And, Republicans and Independents--–are going to send the Democrats packing in the 2010 and 2012 elections--by numbers that we have never seen in the history of our country.

    November 15, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  7. D. Tree

    Guys like Romney are content to make impulsive decisions about sending our sons and daughters to war – I bet Romney spends more time fixing his hair and looking in the mirror than he does thinking about the ramifications of his decisions.

    November 15, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  8. Socrates in Leominster

    Romney Romney Romney... It really makes my blood boil when this so called smart guy opens his mouth.. Did he say anything when his masters Bush and Cheney deceived us and sent troops to Iraq.. Does Romney understand what is the value of a life? 4,300 you american soldiers died. More than 30,000 are wounded emotionally and physically and they can't get a job when they are back.. and billions of our tax moeny were spent with no way to track how.. Now, does this rich guy remembers what he said about his sons... here is what he said: Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Wednesday defended his five sons' decision not to enlist in the military, saying they're showing their support for the country by "helping me get elected." How easy is for this neophite and mediocre individual to open his mouth when other parents' sons are the ones that would be going to to wars based on lies and deception.
    Please, Mr. Romney, crawl under a rock and don't open your mouth.. you don't the right.. even though we are in America.. worry about your houses and how your sons spend your money... which is yours.. but don't try to state what is right when your sons are comfortable living in one of your houses.

    November 15, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  9. Shelly CO

    If anyone thinks this is an easy decision they are delusional.
    Sending your young men and women to a war is the most painful and difficult please everybody chill. Let the President take ALL sides and views before he makes the right decision. Like to see you figure this out without intelligence.
    It is tough. if we leave, the Taliban will become more bold and take over the Government and cause havoc all over the world. If we stay our troops are subjected to harsh conditions and many other risks everyday.
    May immense wisdom guide our wise President. And God bless him and our incredible troops!

    November 15, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  10. Bruce in VA

    Holy mackerel, the nuts are out in force this Sunday morning. Come on...the facts on the ground in Afghanistan are not fast moving. Things aren't changing rapidly. So the problems today are largely the same as the problems during last year's campaign, last year's transition, and the early months of Obama's administration.

    But maybe this is what is to be expected. To date, Obama's most difficult decisions usually involve which Acorn office to visit on a given day, or which left wing radical to hob nob with. Now that decisions actually matter, he's finding that the power of his luminance alone is not enough to get the job done. Not even close. And those around him, like Axelrod, are good at getting people elected, but governing? What's that.

    November 15, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  11. Julie Thomas

    Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin have so much in common they should have ran for the presidency together; both live in a glass bubble with rose color glasses; while neither have clue about the real world and problems. They choose to deflect from reality and play the political bashing game, look where it got them.....wanna be's that have no clue or common sense, just a bunch of jibberish and name calling; gee they must have been real popular in know the ones that put themselves high up on a pedestal, and then we watch them fall.

    November 15, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  12. Cambone

    And Obama has experience making decision such as this – I think not – he is putting all our soldiers at risk with his dithering. Interesting to see that we are back to its Bush/Cheney's fault. The libs out to find another record to play.

    November 15, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  13. Garfield

    A History Lesson

    Prior to the Second World War, the Republican Party was an anti-interventionist party who felt that overseas military endeavors were a waste of tax-payer dollars.

    After WWII, the party began to fear the rising tide of Communism in the east. Communism represents everything that Republicans hate. The world was divided up into three groups:
    – The First World: Capitalist West (Western Europe and the US)
    – The Second World: Communist East (Russia and the Eastern Europe), and
    – The Third World: Nations that were neutral, and generally underdeveloped... of these, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and India were the primary nations

    There was fear that Communism would seep into the Third World because the Third World had a history of being exploited by Colonialism that left the people of those nations poor and radicalized. Poor and radicalized people tend to be more left wing, for obvious reasons.

    Thus, to prevent Communism from taking root in the Third World, the Republican Party became a military interventionist party, rather than a party of isolationism.

    Military interventionism has been a failed strategy in stemming the tide of communism. We failed in Korea and Vietnam, and we helped establish despotic leadership throughout the Middle East by arming Islamic Fundamentalists to combat communism.

    Meanwhile, diplomacy and trade has successfully led to the collapse of Soviet Russia and the Eastern Bloc of Europe. And China is slowly becoming the world's largest capitalist economy.

    The greatest irony of all this is that communism is no longer a global threat, and yet the Republicans haven't changed their military interventionist strategy. We are now fighting the very people that the US military interventionists installed to combat communism.

    Lesson: War doesn't work. Trade and diplomacy does.

    November 15, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  14. Nick San Diego

    Another no nothing BIG MOUTH from the party of NO.

    November 15, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  15. Jethro

    I wish the community organizer would take the time to think out the damage his health care social agenda will bring on this once great nation. And Katie Bush kept this nation safe.

    November 15, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  16. pat

    Take your time Mr. President, You have three years.

    We must be patient and respectful of our leader – isn't that corect – like we were to the former president. We can't have a double standard? Now Now Obamacrats – you are only getting the same as you gave out against the former leader?

    And – uh maybe, Mr. President, you might make another important decision or two before your time is up.

    Right now you are batting zero on getting anything you promised done – you remember you promised a balanced budget and NO new taxes. 10 trillion $ for health care and no new taxes – a magician you must be.

    November 15, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  17. Larry

    It is interesting that the New Republicans on this site, Republicans lacking the decency and love-of-country once shown, consistently respond in these forums with direct attacks on Obama...rather than addressing the issues. As people (democrats included), we are starting to sound shallow, hate-filled...confusing opinion with fact.

    Here are some of my opinions. First, there is no guarantee that sending more troops now will save American lives. Before making that claim, read about Viet Nam. Second, taking time to make a decision is a sign of strength, and not weakness, in leadership. Read your history. Third, calling PRESIDENT Obama an "empty suit," and a "do-nothing" president sound like maybe you've been listening to Rush, Hanity and that Un-American fascist Savage a little too much. Try reading some unbiased news source, like...sadly enough, the BBC.

    November 15, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  18. Doug - Dallas

    It is always easy to critical of the person making the decisions. As the Republicans have shown, they will be negative regardless of the the decisions made. Sitting in the chair and making the decisions is hard and really comes down to the courage of your convictions, especially when you know someone will be slamming everything you do. We have become a nation of armchair quarterbacks!

    The irony of the situation is that if the decision to send more troops is made tomorrow, most of them won't get there until the end of 2010. So the argument of needing them to lower casualties is totally false and actually will increase casualties over the long term. While I hope our leaders would be smart enough not to commit this country to a ten year extension of this war, history would prove me wrong.

    The real question for Afghanistan is how many lives and dollars are the American people willing to spend for very little in return. Our history shows that is what happens when we get into these types of situations. The most glaring example is Vietnam, remember the 58,000 plus lives that were lost for nothing?? If you really look at the history of Afghanistan, you will see that regardless of how long we are there, they will revert to the way they were before we arrived and there is nothing we can do to change that.

    November 15, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  19. nicholas

    I agree with katiec. I have said it many times
    before that the GOP are the "enemy within."

    November 15, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  20. frank Simmons

    If we had been more cautious in the past we would not have this mess. Take your time Mr. President but most of all get the hell out.

    November 15, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  21. Jeanne H.

    I never heard these losers raise any concerns during Bush's 8 years of inaction in Afghanistan (of course because they all supported the idiot's war in iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11). Maybe these losers are hoping the american people are too stupid to figure that.

    November 15, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  22. Paul from NH

    Mitt is right on. Obama is iin permanent campaign mode. He's in way way over his head. Spineless. Fuzzy thinking. What's so hard about making this decision? The generals say we need this. 8 meetings? What are they talking about? He claimed he had already thought this through in the spring. Either get in all the way or get out. Has indecision every won a war?

    November 15, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  23. Ginny I mean Obama will micro-manage this war to a very unsuccessful end. We have seen this movie before and it doesn't end well.

    November 15, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  24. joc,alabama

    We get the idea of how republicans treat troops I.E. Walter Reed,troops die taking a shower H.burton Cheney's company,and lack of armor need I go on

    November 15, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  25. Kent


    Two months is really quite a short time to determine a correct strategy that will meet with success AND save lives and not bust the bank. Wars are not fought by rushing in without knowing what is at stake......but the republicans, and you, seem to have overlooked that. Kneejerk strategy and criticism are the only thing you and the republicans seem to know.

    November 15, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13