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. Neutralizer

    Axelrod should tell O BOW MA to continue bowing to all leaders in Asia! A junior senator elected by the uninformed was bowing to Emperor of Japan. PRICELESS!

    November 15, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  2. johnrj08


    ANYTHING... I mean, ANYTHING that President Obama decides to do is going to be criticized by every single Republican, whether Obama is doing the right thing or not.

    Two months ago, EVERY Republican was complaining that Obama was moving too fast on health care reform. They're doing everything they can to delay it or destroy it. Now, they're asserting that he's not moving fast enough on his decision about Afghanistan, which involves the lives of our kids in uniform.

    Eight years ago, George W. Bush jumped into two wars, both of which were unpaid for and both of which had no post invasion planning at all. Today, every American is paying for those impulsive and imprudent decisions, while thousands of our kids are dead, maimed or emotional scarred.

    Take you time, Mr. President. Be smart. Unlike the empty-headed partisan critics who are just looking for a way to score points with their ignorant, pin-headed base.




    November 15, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  3. johntedder

    Mitt Romney said:

    "Because I love America, in this time of war, I feel I have to stand aside for our party and our country,” he said.

    What a phony.

    November 15, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  4. Jan

    According to previous report President bama hs incresead troop levels since he took office. Clearly evaluation and course correction is part of any responsible decison making progress.

    It is ironic thar the crics who dont't think that Americans need adequate helth care can only see war as the only solution to conlict.

    How many of Romneys's sons are in the military?

    Who said it is not the crtic who counts....

    What happen to the idea of not critcizing our leaders when the county is it war.

    If these so called leader aspirants are so critical of our leaders, what do they expect from Alcaeda?

    November 15, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  5. Sali

    How any on this discussion group have lost a loved one in Afghanistan? How many have lost a loved one have thought over and over and over how that could have been prevented?
    This war is costing us lives and a lot of money we do not have.
    All those who think our president is dithering, please remember that he has his heart and mind in the right place when he wants to avoid loss of lives, keep our country safe AND keep the country from going into further economic losses.
    That does take some very serious thinking and time.
    The delay is reassuring because it shows that the president is serious about finding the right solution and not a rash rush for action.

    November 15, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  6. Rick in AZ

    If Rebublicans spoke only when they knew what they were talking about they would stand mute.

    November 15, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  7. HJA


    So being concerned about our involvement in a war is being a coward? Being concerned about sending our troops to a foriegn land to fight and maybe die. A land that has been fighting for hundreds of years with others and amongst themselves. Warlords only wanting power. Obama's a coward ? What does that make all the Republinazis that constantly critic enerything he does? I'll tell you what it looks like......War criminals. The Republinazis only want to feed the war machine. There are billion$$ to be made in war. This is about money. And that is all the Republinazis think of. Money. Trace some of the lobby cash from the machine. ChaChing!

    November 15, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  8. Karina

    What did Americans expect , Obama who voted 166 times PRESENT during his very short time as a Senator.
    It is not just the time he is taking to make decisions , it is his lack of leadership and experience that is clearly emerging and is being interpreted as a dithering President , with other words , a weak one.

    November 15, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  9. Justin

    I love the folks accusing Bush of getting us into Afghanistan. Kind of like accusing Roosevelt of getting us into a war with Japan.

    November 15, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  10. Dave

    I feel sorry for Axelrod. He has to go out every Sunday and defend the inadequacies of Obama. He run out of any use any rational arguments; therefore he has to take cheap shots at whoever is criticizing Obama. Sam, even the village idiots, can figure out that Obama talks alot, but no action.

    November 15, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  11. Johnny DC

    WOOOOOOW. You liberal sheep are beyond hysterical at this point. It's become funnier than anything on TV or in the movies.

    Now Mitt Romney, former Governor of the state of Massachusetts, is the one who lacks the experience to govern as an executive leader?

    This was the exact argument against electing a man who's executive-level career had only including being a "community organizer".

    I guess the argument works for you, only when it works for you. Is that right? Romney was infinitely more qualified for Obama's job than Obama is. There is no denying it. It's solid fact.

    November 15, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  12. quarterback

    All you chickenhawks strap on a combat load and volunteer for service.

    Gutless swine who will throw someone's kid into a firefight but have never picked up a M-16A2 and would not get your kid into the service.

    Afghans are not at our borders marching on Tucson. Thus, we can take measured approaches to how we should end this when Bush should have won here rather than try to take down Iraq for no good reason.

    No matter what, Repubs are only negative with no ideas.

    November 15, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  13. Line't WI

    Unbelievable. Am I the only one wondering what we are doing in this "terrorist" war. The original "plan" was to find and eradicate Osama Bin Ladin and his ilk. The Taliban supported him. Now we want to hire some of them to quiet the mess. Oh please get out of there. We are not going to change that country or it's fickle people. Only they can. We owe nothing to the Afgans. They harbored our attackers. We lost Osama in the impossible terrain and now we want more boots on the ground for what? Does no one know the history of the middle east. I'm thinking there is something in the Washington water. No one is capable of critical thinking. Get out and use the troops and money to work on our own, not the Afgan's problems. Nothing can be "won" there.

    November 15, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  14. Dave, the Truthteller

    Oh, really, Nan – "Obama won overwhelmingly"? No, he did not. He barely won by outspending McCain almost two-to-one and with the support of the Obama smooching media. Axelrod is another bigmouth lib monkey who chatters loudly to drown out the voices of REAL Americans.

    November 15, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  15. Anonymous

    Hey MITT, (nice name by the way) LOL... U need to keep your mouth SHUT,...U IGNORANT FOOL!

    November 15, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |

    Our army will continue to take over your boards until you are all defeated or conform to our way of thinking. You will soon all be jailed for dissenting views against or leader.

    November 15, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  17. Frank

    This is exactly the politics that have been used against this great nation through out the world. What ever happened with the sense of pride and Patriotism to support this Nation's leader in the deciscions.

    All around the world people are viewing how this nations so called leaders try to pick apart each other for political gain for the next election. Then people wonder why the US is not looked at with high acceptance. How could they, when the news shows we don't view ourselves with high marks.

    The is no Correct decission. There is only the best one to put you on the path you have set out for. Your elected officials have been tasked to lead us to a better tommorrow. all we have to do is Support them and let them know that we are counting on them to deliver.

    Quit giving people amunition to show how broken our nation really is, The problems within my house are not to be gossip for my neighbors.

    November 15, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  18. James L.

    Axelrod needs some serious help. The rest of America has an understanding as to what will happen. In the first place, New York has more knowledge and experience than the WH on what will happen in NY. This trial will go into a monkey show and oblivion. Even if convicted, these guys will live the life of Riley, appealing any court judgment for the next thirty years. All the nuts in the WH associated with this 'decision' will not only be out of the WH, but will be dead and buried before it ends. All the while, the US will pick up the bills and give these guys free medical care. Thanks Obama.

    Axelrod really doesn't know anything, does he.

    November 15, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  19. Yahbut

    I'm not really interested in anything that David Axelrod has to say.
    He is just an assistant and he hasn't been elected to anything.
    Has anyone else noticed how suddenly David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel are speaking more and more in public? This seems rather strange to me – unless somebody feels that the president is not getting the message that he, she or they really want across to the public.
    I am very frightened for our military in Afghanistan with the world seeing the indecision that is going on in the white house. It is extremely obvious that Obama doesn't know what to do about Afghanistan and hasn't found a scapegoat yet to take the blame in case everything fails, which does not have to happe.

    November 15, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  20. Christy Elmasri

    I believe that President Obama is correct in taking his time to look at and understand the war in Afghanistan...decisions made by G.W. were beyond stupid and ill thought out!
    Maybe those who supported President Obama from the start should not fall off the wagon so easily...CHANGE takes time!
    To all of the naysayer's...SHUT THE HELL UP! I am sick and tired of the sheep bleeping and blathering, using the same old tired fear and smear tactics to derail everything.....our country is in dire trouble and I cannot fathom why some people are sickeningly gleeful at any type of failure by the Obama Administration! Upon your heads be it should this great nation fall further for the bickering and finger pointing instead of doing the work needed and that which you were all hired to do for the betterment of us all instead of your own interests!

    November 15, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  21. Bev

    "Iran is just a little country, it poses no threats to the US or the world"
    Barack Obama, 2008.

    November 15, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  22. John

    Why rush to judgement?First troop increase doesn't happen until spring at the earliest even if he decides tomorrow.

    November 15, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  23. ohio u student

    i find it funny that republicans are getting mad for obama taking his time to make an important judgement call when they were in power for 8 years and have nothing to show for it except for the endless war they started and a huge deficit.

    November 15, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  24. Reed

    Interesting to read through all of the posts here. It seems that most of the posters don't think that 6 months (the request by McCrystal was made in June of this year) is a long time for the President to take in making this decision.

    My question is, if 6 months isn't too long, when should the Obama Administration come to a decision? Before Christmas? Before the New Year? Before Valentine's Day? At some point he has to make a decision. That is the point of Romney's criticism.

    I'm not saying that Romney, or any other Republican would do a better job. But I think it is a fair criticism (much like when Democarts rightly criticized the Bush Administration for the failed Iraq strategy prior to the surge) to level against Obama.

    November 15, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  25. Larry S

    So, it is now becomming a major issue if someone questions the ability of the president oBLAHma??? I guess the facts prove this administration is only able to critize . . . no ability to lead. Turn out the lights, the part is over.

    November 15, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
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