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. Ted van Tol

    No extra troops before there is an EXIT strategy.
    That's change we can believe in!

    Go, Barack, take your time for a wise approach.

    The world supports you more thand any former President ever..

    November 15, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  2. cathy

    President Obama is dragging his feet on a decision about Afghanistan and on many other critical issues that he slammed Bush for and promised to expedite action on if he was elected. I don't have a problem with him taking time to make good decisions; I want to hear apologies and recognition that President Bush was likewise being thoughtful in his decision making. I am so sick of the main stream media persecuting conservative approaches then granting allowances and understanding when liberals do the same. Is the glass half empty of half full? How we answer will depend only on your political perspective. The situation will remain the same. Could we please get some fair reporting and analysis?

    November 15, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  3. Romney is better than BO

    At least Romney ran a successful business. At least Romney ran a state. At least Romney brought the Olympics to Salt Lake City and ran them successfully. HEY AXELROD, WHAT HAS BO DONE???

    November 15, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  4. independent

    This is too funny LOL!

    Dick Cheney-dodged the draft FIVE times so he wouldn' t have to serve his country. But he says Obama should just hurry up and send other people's children's in the line of fire.

    Romney-said his own sons were too busy helping in his pathetic campaign to serve their country.

    But these are the jokers who claim that Obama is taking too long to send forty thousand of our men and women to do they ARE NEVER willing to do.

    November 15, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  5. Bruce from Cypress Texas

    President Obama needs to hatch a decision....and soon!!! He has had ample time to weigh all the options, and there can't be too many more options to consider. How much input does he need??? Mitt Romney is entitled to his opinion, right or wrong, he is a tax paying citizen just like to rest of us. It has nothing to do with political parties, this is a military situation, and needs to be handled as such. One thing is for sure, no matter what Obama's decision is, he cannot win. We can add his indecision on what to do in Afghanistan, to his long list of screw-ups.

    November 15, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  6. Fed up Monority

    German,Irish american

    Well the he!! do you get your information from......your neighbor...who is just like you....back your claims up with some proof...point me in the right direction.

    November 15, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  7. United we stand...

    Cled November 15th, 2009 11:17 am ET

    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

    Funny how short the memories of right-wingers have become. Don't kid yourself, your hero GWB and his VP thug diminished the Presidency. Or like all the other wing-nuts you were asleep for the GWB fiasco. Thankfully, Obama is bringing the position back to some level of respect.

    Do you think the world is as partisan and hypocritical as you so called "conservatives? The answer is no. We haven't forgotten how your last POTUS used an attack on your country to start an ILLEGAL war. We didn't forget that it was GWB that took away your freedom with the PATRIOT ACT instigated TARP, ignored your own in New Orleans and signed the Stimulus package.

    Conservatives may not have the brains to think clearly, but thank GOD Obama is leading this country out from the darkness it was left in for 8 years.

    The WORLD is thankful for an intelligent, thoughtful Black POTUS.

    And as for folks like you – you have been weighted, measured and found wanting.

    November 15, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  8. R Palmer

    As is usual with America, we cannot finish what we start. Too many people forget that we were attacked on our own soil, by terrorists. tey forget that a military man warned congrees about Osama bin Laden prior to his plot to attack us and the Democrats in congress made fun of him, they forget that the Clinto administration FORCED the Isrealis to release Mohmed Attah the terrorist that flew the first aircraft into the World Trade Centers. People we are at WAR with MUSLIM extremists and how do we handle this. We place Devout Muslims into key positions at Homeland Security. We cannot profile because it might offend someone, so we strip search little old White ladies (because we cannot do that to a minority because of lawsuits) HOW STUPID is this country? I spent 24 years in the military to protect and defend our way of life and I am watching this country devolve and disintegrate due to liberal judges and acedemics with NO REAL WORLD EXPERIENCE. The people who voted for Obama are getting what they deserve, unfortunately they are taking the entire country down with them. If you are NOT a US citizen, then you are NOT protected by the US Constitution, if YOU are here ILLEGALLY, it means you are BREAKING the LAW. The LAW needs to be ENFORCED. Competant MILITARY commanders say Troops are needed in Afganistan. If we fail in this war due to our leaders inability to make a decision we should just turn the country over to the terrorists because they will take it anyway. America has lost it's spine and we need to get it back!

    November 15, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  9. Vaz

    It seems as if everything Obama does is wrong. Where are the voices of reason in America? The president is contemplative and wise. Sending more troops without understanding the big picture of what is really happening in Afghanistan is not wise.

    November 15, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  10. Lissa

    I have to take exception to the headline. This wasn't a "slam". It was a statement from Axelrod on Romney's ability to speak with any authority on this topic. He didn't slam Romney. He merely countered. CNN's headline should not be this skewed.

    November 15, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  11. Bev

    Dear PC:

    You should look at the polls--the unbiased, national polls--Rasmussen, Gallup, etc.

    Independents now support Republicans by 52% to 30%

    The Democrats are going to be sent packing in 2010 and 2012.

    And, Obama will be just like Carter--one and done!!

    The Democrats are already talking about running someone against Obama in 2012--even they know that your "Messiah" has NO chance of winning in 2012!!!

    November 15, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  12. A Citizen

    Wow Obama and the Chicago crowd is going to have to make a decision – and they may be criticized for it. But, not to worry, it's all the fault of Bush and the Republicans – everything is in their world!

    November 15, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  13. jlyn

    OMG. The right wingnuts are out in full force today. Why are you so hateful? Give the man a chance to think. I know you're not used to people doing that, and especially not our last president, but it's something I for one am grateful that Obama is capable of doing. I never heard any of you right wingnuts screaming for Bush to make a decsion–even 8 years into the Afghan war. Yet Obama has to make one NOW, NOW, NOW. Give me a break. You're all a bunch of right wingnut hypocrites. Bush got us into gigantic, almost insurmountable problems, and Obama is supposed to fix it all in 10 months? (almost 10 months, that is) If you believe what you write, then you are the biggest fools walking the face of the earth. If you don't believe it but are just spouting right-wing propaganda, then you are the biggest bunch of hypocrites walking the earth.

    November 15, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  14. Thomas

    Why is David Axelrod so sensitive to criticism? Does he not think a president, any president, deserved to be criticized from time to time? I remember how Ari Fleishcher got some well-deserved criticism when he said that people need to watch what they say and when they say it. Isn't Axelrod shooting for this same standard?

    I think Mitt Romney was the worst guy running for president last year but let the guy say what he wants to say, Mr. Axelrod. We saw during the Bush Administration what happened when the opposition party (Democrats, I am talking about you) just sat down and did nothing when it counted.

    November 15, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  15. Dan

    But the president IS taking a lot of time to decide, since Afghanistan was a campaign issue and they asked Bush to hold decision once they got the overall analysis of the previous administration. Even if they want to take the time, they should not announce they are taking the time but that the strategy is of some sort (e.g., hold with the same troops till some time). The problem is that local party politics plays a role: they tell the general to push and then delay to say it is not them, then they will decide due to pressure on half measure saying they pushed the general back. Playing politics with national security is obvious and this is not the change we expected (and the fact that the campaign expert Axelrod is the spokesman for it is already telling). Voting "present" is not an option anymore.

    November 15, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  16. Rose

    So, tell us Axelrod, just what qualifies Obama to make such a decision? And what about you, what qualifies you to question what the people think and feel. I think Romney is right to question. The Community organizer has no clue that is why he is taking so long to make up his mind. He said he doesn't want to put our military in harms way, what does he think he is doing now to those who are alrerady in Afghanistan. They are already in harms way.

    November 15, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  17. Annie, Atlanta

    I saw this take down this morning. It was a sight to see. I can't understand where Mitt Romney thinks he has any experience to criticize the President on Afghanistan. Where is that coming from? Just your usual Republican mode. Put down everything this administration is trying to do to clean up the mess left them, but don't even try to come up with solutions. I wonder nearly every day – since we witness this nonsense nearly every day – what Presidents Lincoln or Eisenhower would think of what's become of the Republican party.

    November 15, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  18. Reformed Republican

    The rethuglicon idea of governance?

    Ready, FIRE, Aim...

    The Mitter-man is your typical bed-wetting "I afraid of everything so you should be too" GOP'er except that he wears magic drawers instead of a pointy hood.

    Just remember, while the rethugs continue to block health care reform and the public option, another 122 of our fellow Americans die every day for lack of health coverage. America says "Thanks" rethugs...

    November 15, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  19. Fed up Monority

    Well said.....they are not smart enough to understand that.

    November 15, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  20. will

    Mitt Romney has by far the greatest economic experience that any major candidate has in either party...the fact that this is ignored is laughable....The fact is people give excuses for Obama, and maybe hes new on the block and inhereted a lot of stuff so alright maybe its warranted, but Mitt Romney would be a better president with regards to economics which im sorry to say it a little more disconcerting to me than afghanistan

    November 15, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  21. Senior Lilarose in Oregon

    I just wish the Republicans could come up with someone new to headline their party. It is the same old tired names and faces, like Romney and whats-his-name, the old mayor of NYC.

    Then there is Sarah. Sarah will be in her late 40's if she runs for prez in 2012. This last time around people voted for her because she was "hot," but I wonder if her "hotness" will be as much of a draw when her face starts to look like a road map.

    November 15, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  22. Angy-OH

    mitty is a pompous empty headed tired old repug. he's as smart as sarah palin. both have the intelligences of a tree stump. who cares what he says. whatever President Obama does is never good enough or right in their eyes. as usual they don't have any solutions of their own. where were all these know-it-alls when bush/cheney started the wars and put this country in the mess we are in now. they just seem to not want to talk about the 8 horrible years of bush/cheney rule.

    November 15, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  23. Former Army

    quarterback, I carried a M16A1 – I served, my brothers served, my father served, my daughter is now serving. The majority of service members are conservative, do a fact-check Libs take note, the terrorist have hated us all the way back to Kennedy, R. Kennedy was killed by a Palestine. Carter, remember the hostage situation? Our embassies (US soil) have been under constant attack for 30 years, pay attention. Obama dithers!

    November 15, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  24. valwayne

    Ditther dither, dither, dither, meanwhile our troops are fighting and dying in Afghanistan without the support the Obama's own hand picked General says they need. 4 months? Even worse than leaving the troops exposed without the support they need is the message of utter indecision and weakness that our adversaries are getting that could be even more costly down the line. The Iranians, North Koreans, Chinese, Russians...they must be chuckling and making plans to take advantage of our Ditherer in Chief!

    November 15, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  25. Ben

    Mitts right I don't always side with Mitt, but I do on this one.
    The moral of the troops is slipping....they don't see a president who is "supportive" of their efforts. When he ran for pres, obama said he wanted the emphasis put on Afganistan. Now that hes pres....wheres the emphasis???? I don't think "I need time to think" is a viable excuse...some times decisions need to be made and the people on the ground realize that no decision is a decision.
    You go get um Mitt. Keep our whitehouse saying your name. I like it.

    November 15, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
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