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. jake

    Clearly Obama doesn't want to do anything controversial until he gets his healthcare passed. BTW - I'm generally in favor of healthcare reform - but this bill that came out of the house is crap. if congress and Obama are going to raise taxes (which they are) raise them to our faces, not in all these complicated ways that are hidden. That's just an insult.

    November 15, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  2. di

    Obama needs to bring our boys and girls home to US. His heart is not with them! No more politics our children are dying!

    November 15, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  3. dogmom

    yup, thank you axelrod –
    i just wrote romney that he made himself a less-than by not equating it to a business (he is such a good businessman??) that all options in every dept need to be looked at –
    obama is heading towards a peaceful world –
    romney also doesn't seem to realize you can physically BE in one place & BE connected to your staff which is in another place on our globe –
    romney, bad decision you made by speaking just to be heard –

    November 15, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  4. Erwin

    Jethro: Bush "kept this nation safe"... for 7 out of 8 years. The worst terrorist attack in U.S. history happened on his watch. Not good enough.

    November 15, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  5. Former Army

    “I know that Gov. Romney has never had responsibility for any decision akin to this" The real problem is that Obama has NEVER had this responsibility either. He can not just vote PRESENT.

    November 15, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  6. LacrosseMom

    ROMNEY..... the wealthy man who has NEVER lived in the REAL world, think he is an expert???? Romney is the typical GOPer, criticize, demonize.

    Some comments here complain that Axelrod is "taking cheap shots at Romney" however........ stop and READ ALL the CHEAP SHOTS the GOPERS take DAILY at President Obama! These are the same people who would tell us, Democrats, "love it or leave it" when we dared to complain about Bush! So the GOP are the only ones allowed to criticize?! Hypocrites!

    PS. Romney will NEVER, EVER be elected president! The Evangelicals will NEVER vote for a Mormon!

    November 15, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  7. terry,va

    After Oba Mao (this is what the Chinise are calling Obummie) gets his inspirations from visiting and studying his name sake Mao Tse Tung, he will decide that the communist way is better and he will do a total withdrawal.

    November 15, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  8. Lance

    The fact is that Obama has attended more fundraisers this year than Bush did his entire first term. He also has broken the record for number of golf games in a single year by any sitting president. Maybe there is something to the complaint that he is lolly-gagging when an important national security decision drags on endlessly, and he spends more time on his party's business– and his handicap– than his nation's business. Oh- but I hear he is planning another "Beer Summit."

    As an independant, I find the liberal lemmings who post on this page comical. Just because you love the guy doesn;t mean that you can't consider his performance critically, or use some common sense.

    November 15, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  9. Mike S.

    We invaded Afganistan, they're shooting us because we invaded their country, we're shooting them because they're shooting at us. What's to decide? It was a Bush war started with false information, Bush and Cheney lies, so the decision is to sacrifice more U.S. lives to a lost cause in a feudal country in a war that was started on false pretenses.
    I'm glad Obama is giving it some thought, instead of the knee jerk hick reaction of "Smoke 'em out dead or alive" by the last idiot who got us into this mess. Stop campaigning Mitt, you can't buy the presidency.

    November 15, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  10. Jim

    Amazing. I guess it would be better to make a snap decision, whether it was right or not, than to take time to examine the options and carefully assess the best course of action because acting "fast" makes you "look" decisive makes you "look" like you know what you're doing. Yeah, I think that's what I'm hearing. And that's the problem, but so, so typical for this Hollywood-obsessed nation of brightly blooming narcissists. It's all about the image – who needs content (aka, character – aka, a plan). Sad, because these decisions cost billions of dollars, and more importantly, potentially thousands of lives. But silly one-track-mind little green army men so puffy and self-proud, and the vacuous self-serving corporate-led vampires presiding over our government keep stirring up FUD that our 'enemies' will see us as weak if we don't act now! Act now! God, we must act now or all is lost!! Send in the reserves, Mr. President! Ready the nukes! Don't let 'em think even for a second that YOU actually THINK at all cause THINKING is for the WEAK!!

    Romney, if you asked him, wouldn't be able to tell you much about why he feels it taking "too long". No. This just came up because one of his staff put it on his calendar as Nov. 15 "to do" item. Seriously, you know this is how it happened. It read, "... blast pres. 4 Afg. stall", with some supporting sound bytes from other gas bags.

    Now, imagine if you could sit ol' Mitt down and talk to him. Just you and Mitt, an' maybe a pitcher of Tennessee Tea, just hashin' things out like old friends. What do you think Mitt would have to say? Do you think he would have a well-formulated opinion and approach to exactly what course of action this country should take?

    Didn't think so.

    November 15, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  11. katiec

    When the leadership of a country with their actions causes the creation of terrorists and terrorist groups to the highest level ever in history I do not know how some can claim their actions have kept our country safer now and in the future.
    Bush and company destroyed our standing in the world, destroyed what our country once stood for even turning those who used to be allies against us. This most certainly has not put our country in a better position.

    November 15, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  12. Tim in Minnesota

    There was a post here by some fool named 7papa7 where they state that "Obama has had two months to make his decision since the troops were requested."
    Uh, by the way, oh wise one, we rushed in to Afghanistan and 8 years later we're still stuck in that forsaken quagmire. I have a hard time believing that the military has been very successful with their current strategy.
    There is a quite valid reason why we have civilian leadership. You and your ilk prefer to criticize ANYTHING our current leadership thinks, feels or does.

    November 15, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  13. dan

    Maybe if the prior president would have taken more time to adress this sitiwation we be in a better sitiwation today.Whats the rush to make a sound decision.

    November 15, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  14. terry,va

    Obuumie will make a decision when he is good and ready!!! He sees all and knows all. Remember he's the world's leader not just a measly president of what used to be The UNITED STATES of America.

    November 15, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  15. ja

    Romney had his head in the sand during the Bush admin, well he need to stick it back in

    November 15, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  16. Unemployed In Iowa because of Obama

    what is so great about an obama aide, sounds like another obama disease.

    November 15, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  17. Bedtime for Obonzo

    Two months? More like SIX months. McChrystal made his request for more troops make in June.

    November 15, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  18. Nan

    I love the statements made like "the majority of the country feels..." Truth is anyone who states they know how the majority of the country feels is either delusional or just shooting off their mouth. Content people go about their daily lives. They don't speak out and they don't participate in polls. The majority of the country rarely votes. This past election was different and the majority of the country expressed how they felt. Obama won overwhelmingly. Now to state that the majority of the country is unhappy with him is foolish. Let him take his time. Many lives are at stake and the situation on the ground is not changing rapidly. Let him have an exit strategy. Radical "Christian" right and extreme left please do not pretend you know what the majority is thinking.

    November 15, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  19. Sam I Am

    I wish with all my heart that people on this and other sites watch some news outlet other than Fox News. Don't let them do your thinking for you. They are village idiots.

    We are in two protracted (that means "long" to you Fox News watchers) quagmire (that means muddy swamp that is difficult to get out of) wars because of snap decisions by the Bush administration. It's about time our administration start carefully considering next steps. The situation in Afghanistan is not a Hollywood movie, with a simple plot in which we will be heroic in 2 1/2 hours of battle, the handsome lead actor will get the girl, and we'll go home. It is extremely complex. It will take our best minds to get it solved. How about we let the experts (military and political) think this through, so we don't have more Bush-esque nonsense? And Mr. Romney? With all due respect, shut the hell up. You're an idiot.

    November 15, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  20. Seriously, Left

    This president said a lot during the campaign and now that its time for decisive action, he footdrags while our soldiers are fighting and dying in a war he even opposes. You won sir.....NOW LEAD.

    November 15, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  21. sportsguydave


    You're no independent. If you want to act like a mouth-breathing wingnut, at least have the stones to admit it.

    Sit down and be quiet. The grownups are in charge now.

    November 15, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  22. Carole

    Mr. Axelrod is so correct. Romney, Palin, Huckabee or Pawlenty just know how to be negative.

    Romney's experience is buying or selling multi-million dollar palatial homes and getting his hair done and sprayed.

    Romney has 'no' experience whatsoever.

    November 15, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  23. joc,alabama

    4 to 5 tours because Bush didn't get it right,the President is doing the job right

    November 15, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  24. too bad the republiklans lack ideas

    @ mtovet

    Agreed Obama has no prior experience with responsibility; but at least he is taking his time to commit more US troops to Afghanistan after Bush dropped the ball for 8yrs and went for his Daddy's war-for-oil in Iraq!

    Mitt Romney has no prior experience with responsibility whatsoever; but just wants to bloviate his republiklan talking points....if he cares so much about the war; he should enlist himself and his fours sons to go fight in the frontline!!!!

    Talk is cheap; as is now the republiklan platform of all criticism with no can't say take your time with passing healthcare for ALL americans; then trun around and say the president needs to hurry up in sending more young american soldiers to die in an unjust war....sorry, repugs you can't have both ways!!!!

    November 15, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  25. Chad

    It's refreshing to have leadership that is thoughtful and deliberate. We should not, under any circumstances, commit more troops and money into this war unless we have a clear war strategy and exit plan.
    Kudos to the president for resisting our poisonous 24 hours news cycle (and right wing war mongering).

    November 15, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
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