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. Steve

    Axelrod is an exel in a wheel. The world is spinning around him.
    Obama is slowwww. Romney is in , is hip, smart, and looks like a president. Go get em Romney.

    November 15, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  2. katiec

    Someone mentioned the world watching while the party of NOthing destroys our political system and what it once stood for. How true. They are making what was once such an honorable system a laughing stock worldwide with their shameful, irresponsible behavior. They have sold out us and our country for big business, continue to put party, winning at any cost over our survival and hide behind the Bible while being hypocrits, liars, obstructionists and unAmerican.
    How anyone can support a political party that has lost all concern for representing our country and the American people is beyond me.

    November 15, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  3. Cled

    such limited experience, along with his thug-like chicago adivisors, make for a very dangerous world..........we have diminished the stature of the presidency while making Jimmy Carter now look competent

    November 15, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  4. kd

    that's right – let's go back to the Bush method of striking first and, well, with Bush there was no thinking afterward.

    Republicans become more strange and irrelevant each day.

    November 15, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  5. pa. independent

    Mitt, the man who believes in magic underwe@r, has no credibility with me!!

    November 15, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  6. Tim E

    Maybe Mitt is just volunteering to lead the surge? The Dems should at least make the offer.

    November 15, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  7. SocialismBad

    Obama and Axelroid can't find an option that will benefit them politically. Looks like the community organizer and his flunkies never thought they'd actually have to back up their empty rhetoric with action. These people are so clueless and that is becoming very obvious to our enemies.

    November 15, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  8. jay jay

    Mitt Romney socialized Massachussetts healthcare system. nuff said

    November 15, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  9. reggie from LA

    Larry S is right.

    Liberals with their same ol' talking points about how the republicans messed things up for 8 years. How Cheney ruled the House with an iron fist and bullied us right into a couple of doozies. Stop talkin' about that and how Romney disappeared after a crash-and-burn appeal to conservatives on his way out of the 2008 primaries with a firebrand criticism of the direction of the democratic party.

    Hey Larry!! I'll bet we can shut the Libs up with some really good examples of what the before-Obama administration and Romney did for the country. Come on. Let's list some some and stop their nonsense. Let's see, there was ummm....ummm. Come on...

    November 15, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  10. Tod

    The republicans wanted more time to make a decision on saving american lives – ala – healthcare, but they when it's time to make a decision that could take away young american lives, they apparently don't need time.

    November 15, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  11. sam

    HANK . you took the words out of my mouth . I am so glad Obama is taking his time, and if you asks me I think Obama wants out of both wars .

    November 15, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  12. SocialismBad

    Romney has successfully run more than Obama or Axelrod could ever dream of. Obama had several years now to come up to speed on Afghanistan. He's been in office for nearly a year and continues to blame everybody else for his failings and indecisiveness. The fools that voted this incompetent into office should have their citizenship revoked.

    November 15, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  13. terry,va

    Axelrod is correct. Romney doesn't have the skills to be today's president. Romney could never do what Obummie does.
    Did you see Obummie bowing before the Japanese leader? He bowed when he was candidate Obummie when he was on his worldwide rock star tour, but his people said that wasn't a bow.....he was just looking at the mans' shoes. Does he have a foot fetish? What about the garb he wore in Singapore yesterday. A rickshaw hat would have really topped of his outfit.

    November 15, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  14. mannygazbee

    when will dems have the spine to call sleaze balls, sleaze balls. imagine people that did nothing to help this country for 8yrs talking about everything the president is doing to clean up their mess. its terrible when dems can't shut them up. repubs even had abortion in health plan since 1991 and time after time they campaigned against abortion. dems need to know how to make issues of everything the repubs do too. right?

    November 15, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  15. vpt124

    I'm so sick of NOBAMA, no more in 2012. NOBAMA, you should stop enjoy with your family and start to do your job.

    November 15, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  16. jim

    this sort of thing is true for ALL pople. please people ... hold your tongue until you have some facts.

    November 15, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  17. Rocky

    "Now, Romney has NEVER had to make a decision on a military action, and considering Mr. Romney’s past decision making abilities, many still remember Romney’s pink flyers at the gay pride parade, Romney’s support for abortion, the check he and his wife give for abortion rights and many other of Romney stands– like he wasn’t a conservative, he wasn’t Ronald Reagan, only to later state he was against all these issues, and he was the very thing he said earlier he wasn’t. Romney would more than likely get confused, if he ever had to decide on military action, if he was American or the Taliban, and this sir is a risk no American can take."

    best quote today so far.

    November 15, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  18. Dan in Iowa

    This administration is so sensitive to any sort of criticism from anyone or organization it is not even funny. The Bush administration dealt with neverending criticism for 8 years and didn't complain near as much as the Obama administration. Criticism is part of the office, deal with it.

    November 15, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  19. German,Irish American

    quarterback- you are calling the GOP gutless swine for not joining the military. Why is it then that the military ALWAYS votes OVERWHELMING for REPUBLICANS? If you brave rattle-headed liberals are doing all the talking, why are there more Republicans that Democrats in the military? For that matter, all you so-called "caring for the poor and minorities" Democrats, donate less to charities than the conservatives, even though your income is higher. But that is the typical liberal mindset, hold your hand out and complain that the bigoted, racist Republicans aren't giving you enough of their money. What a sorry state of bloodsucking liberals the Democrat party has become, and getting worse by the day with the unexperienced, uninformed, and becoming clearer everyday, average IQ President we have. What is also becoming clearer is the real people pulling puppet Obamas' strings, is Holder, Axelrod, Emanual, and George Soros.

    November 15, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  20. File under "Sarcasm"

    Eight meetings over almost three months and no decision! If this were a business, it would be headed towards failure and bankruptcy. Successful organizations have strong leaders with a clear vision that can quickly make strategic decisions between competing actions with imperfect facts.

    Everyone has heard the joke that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. The joke typically leaves out how long it took for the committee to complete the design.

    November 15, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  21. indiana voter

    Obama and the Democrat party are the true enemies of America. They give constitutional rights to enemy combatants and make it more of a political theater for the terrorists to make their case. The Democrat is also the true party of NO. They say no to American liberties and freedoms every day.

    Liberal Democrats will be the death of America.

    November 15, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  22. CBR

    Mitt Romney should think twice before making any statement about our troops fighting in Afghanistan. I do not believe that Mr. Romney served in the military but do remember that he stated his boys were doing their service by helping in his presidential campaign. It may be a generality but many of those who send our troops into battle have not served not have their children. It is easy to snd someone else to fight your battles.

    Mitt Romney did not stay with the job in MA even after he so gallantly pushed Jane Swift out of contention. He then left his Lt. Governor hanging and did nothing to help her in her run for governor.

    November 15, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  23. TJ

    These guys are so into timelines for withdrawl yet they can't get a timeline for this??? Nice work Dems....

    November 15, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  24. Torianto


    You sound really silly when you say Mitt Romney looks like a President!

    What does a President actually look like? I am more concerned about how a President can turn this country and lead us in the right direction than whether or not he or she walks and looks like a President.

    November 15, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  25. TM

    We should listen to Willard "Mitt" Romney because he "looks like a president"?! Are you SERIOUS? Bush played "dress up fighter pilot" so he could "look like a warrior" and look what his ignorance about war got us. The time for fake leaders who just "look" the part is over. Now we will listen to those who know what they are talking about.

    November 15, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
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