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. samr

    Let's reinstate conscription and see how many of these pro-troop deployment change their minds when they or their children are called to fight the war. This is not business. THis is about the loss of human life. Get a real perspective Mitt!

    November 15, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  2. Patriot

    Wake up, people! Both the Repubs and Dems are beholden to special interests. All they care about is staying in power. They will say anything and promise anything to get elected or re-elected.

    They only give lip service to caring about the people and believing in the Constitution. In reality, they only care about the cozy relationships they have with special interests, which keep them in power. And, they use the "divide and conquer" strategy to keep us all bickering at each other like we do on this blog.

    A divided populace is a powerless populace, and that is what they want. They fear the people joing together in common interest, because it would be the death of their reign.

    Time to create and unite behind a viable 3rd party that actually cares about us, and throw ALL of these selfish, corrupt aristocrats out for good!

    November 15, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  3. terry

    People should understand that with hatred and bigotry, the republican party wouldnt exist. It is sad to say the because of politics and corruption by big business, the democratic party has lost the guts to act. While the democrats still have the majority, they must stand up and take care of the American people. We must all understand that our survival as a nation is at stake. The President is doing the right thing even as he considers the political ramifications. The republicans are subversionist, powered by the almighty dollars, and using the ignorance of those just as bitter and hateful as they are. They are a small sector of our society and as loud as they speak, the majority, with guts, can send them back under the rock from which they crawled. For the life of me, i can understand how people can vote against their own self interest (oh yes i can.....bigotry and hatred).

    A clear difference is while republicans are stiffling progress on healthcare, democrats, lead by people like Keith Oberman are organizing clinics to help the less/under forturnate. Name one thing the republicans have done.....NOTHING!!!!

    Based on the personal values and morals please fill in the blank: ......... because the alternative is not profitable. For the republicans, and their values it goes something like this:

    1)The average american doesnt deserve healthcare because the alternative is not profitable.
    2) We cant treat people humanely because the alternative is not profitable.
    3) We cant have a public healthcare system and hold the insurance companies accountable because the alternative is not profitable.

    Sound hateful and illogical....but of course that the republicans value system.

    November 15, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  4. Senior Lilarose in Oregon

    Cathy, do you know much about the business world?

    Our government should be run on business principles, and that is what Obama is trying to do.

    He is taking his time to make a huge decision about future engagements in Afghanistan because he is looking at this situation from many angles. Successful businesses do the same thing.

    Try using your brain on your own behalf instead of repeating the tired old mantras of the Republican party and its weirdo spokespeople.

    November 15, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  5. katie

    maybe obama realizes that the lives of tens of thousands of troops are not expendable. maybe obama realizes that it was a snap decision that got us into the quagmire that is the wars in afghanistan and iraq in the first place. maybe obama realizes that one should have and exit strategy in mind before committing even more resources to a war that should have ended years ago. maybe mitt romney doesn't care about the lives of tens of thousands of troops, or the fact that people are paying taxes that go directly to the war effort, and just cares about drumming up support for a run for president in 2012. maybe if mitt romney and other conservatives decided to work with the president, and not against him, we would be on the way to fixing health care, climate change, etc., instead of mired down in ridiculous name calling and showmanship.

    November 15, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  6. SocialismBad

    Could Obama be delaying his decision because he doesn't want to alienate his radical left base and risk their support on healthcare? This has been dragging on so long there can be no other explanation. Three months is far too long to make a decision, especially after Obama said in MArch he had a new strategy and HIS new general.

    Yes, sadly, Obama is placing our soldiers at increased risk for political reasons. Sad, sad, sad....

    November 15, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. Derek

    All you liberals posting here, why don't you take your time to look up the facts instead of posting random crap without any evidence.

    Someone said that Romney thinks he is god...this is a load of crap. Look at Obama, he is a result of media endorsements, the media freaking loves him or at least they used to. They made him look like a god in the eyes of some Americans leading to people making uniformed votes which lead to him becoming president. Now you blindly follow Obama as though he is your savior.
    You state that Bush entered war without reason and lead America into debt. This is all false. No matter how wrong you think the war in Afghanistan and Iraq is...just think back to 9/11. If you think that America is going to take that from terrorists and not fight back then you do not deserve to be called an American. While this war has dragged on, it is about terrorist prevention and what Bush thought was right at the time. Plus, I would like to point out that both the House and Senate approved all laws that Bush signed and that the House has a majority of Democrats, so you can't blame everything on Bush.
    As for our national debt and failing economy, I would like you to take a look back the democrat president before Bush, in 1994 president Bill Clinton signed NAFTA which resulted in the beginning of the de-industrialization of the the Untied States. NAFTA was the beginning of the outsourcing of jobs to countries such as Mexico and later Asian countries such as China. NAFTA is the cause of the shortage of jobs in the United States, of course NAFTA didn't begin to really start effecting jobs until the early years of Bush's presidency which means Bush got blamed because people were losing their jobs. I would also like to point out that our current president Obama spends money like water, he comes up with these multi-billion or trillion dollar plans and pretty much tries to force them through congress. His stimulus package has done nothing for the people of the United States, only this October our unemployment rates reached their highest in almost 40 years.
    Personally I agree with Mitt Romney, Obama needs to hurry up with his decision. We have troops getting killed daily in Afghanistan because Obama fails to provide them with the support they need. The General in Afghanistan has stated that he will not be able to succeed in Afghanistan if he does not receive these troops, this should be enough for Obama to send more troops instead of letting soldiers die. What disgusts me even more is that Obama has only talked to the U.S. general once or twice since he began his presidency in January. Obama is more uniformed than Mit Romney, he never talks to the general who knows more than anyone what the situation is in Afghanistan, that makes no sense to me. Obama should be having talks with him weekly in order to stay up to date with the situation in Afghanistan, maybe it would help him realize that our troops are in need of support and that they are going to continue to die without his support.
    I think that Romney will be the best choice for president of 2012, he helped bring Massachusetts out of debt when he was governor because he is a business man, he understands how our economy works.
    So I'm sorry to all the liberals on this site who think they are smart by insulting republicans, but you guys are idiots. Maybe you should get some evidence to support your statements and get your heads out of the clouds and realize what is really going on here.

    November 15, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. Ka sure we all know what happened last time when these politicians knee jerked and decided to send our valuable and valiant men and women into a war that has long forgotten its objectives. At least here is someone who is taking his time to ensure that the decision he takes is well thought off and concerns the ones actually laying their lives while the Romneys of the world will watch the news of the fallen on TV from the comfort of his mansion. Romney is not on the frontlines and no wonder he is not happy about why more of others are not laying down their lives. My only hope is Obama calls it a wrap and brings back these heroes home safe and sound. Haven't we lost enough lives already.

    November 15, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  9. Black Viper

    When It comes to healthcare that affect the life of americans families the GOP was barking all over the media asking for more time to get it right (kill the Bill).
    Now when it comes to sending american young boys to war every sudden the president is dragging his feet because he wants to get it right.
    These folks are amazingly ridiculous in their arguments.

    November 15, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  10. Brandon

    While taking criticism is part of being President, being disrespected is not.

    Obama is certaintly open to CONSTRUCTIVE criticism, which also tends to involve more than the words "YOU'LL BE THE DEATH OF AMERICA!"

    November 15, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  11. common sense

    If President Obama had a son or daughter there would it take this long????????

    November 15, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  12. Joan

    Romney has such an arrogant, holier than thou attitude and he seems to think he has all the answers. Folks like him, Cheney, Limbaugh and others keep saying the President is dithering and wasting too much time because he is weighting all the angles concering Afghanistan for a couple of months. The last administration dithered in Afghnaistan for over 7 years and allowed Al Queda to rebuild under the radar all over the world. As far as the trials for these low lifes is concerned, it is about time. Only three people have been convicted by tribunals and that's not a reassuring record. At least this President is going to bring them to justice. It is a shame that Romney, Guilianni and others do not have more confidence in and respect for the judicial and law enforcement agencies in your country.

    November 15, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  13. REG in AZ

    Michael Moore once described his impression of the average Democrat and it created the picture of a fairly down-to-earth, family oriented individual, who you might think had a dog, liked kids, enjoyed bowling, was pretty easy going, was considerate of others, valued honesty and, the weakness, gave in to others pretty easily. Now that is obviously an over simplification but the point may be well taken that the different political values may tend to draw different common personalities. Even being moderately liberal seems to infer a conscience that dictates more concern for others and accepting more responsibility for the world, while conservatism can be seen as implying a stricter, more self-focused, aggressive and, the fault, a lack of any real community conscience (even in it being seen as a weakness). Taking it one step further, whether liberal or conservative, it should be recognized that any honest and conscience driven person is at a disadvantage when dealing with a person who has no conscience and is easily dishonest. While one is waiting for understanding the other is simply walking away with the goods. Really there are only two ways for an honest person to deal with a dishonest person: one, trying to compete with them and hoping to be successful at being more dishonest than they are (i.e., playing their game), which rarely works; and two, tell them what you expect and will tolerate, bargain no further and accept nothing less. In the early stages the results can favor the dishonest person but as time and the negatives progress, the recognition comes, the patience wanes and the strength gains with the honest person then confidently becoming more firm. Which do you prefer to represent you? First, I am not implying that all Republicans are dishonest by any means yet I do really see a current trend for it to be more tolerated there (maybe just in their several sociopathic personalities; Palin, Bush, Rove,,,). Second, I think the answer is in what does your conscience dictate; what can you live with and are you susceptible to the con, to the manipulative appeal to your self-interests, and then are you concerned for only immediate individual gain or instead looking at being responsible, including to future generations? Personally, I'd like to see honesty and compassion, responsibility and integrity be the standard for both parties and for all representatives – we the voters are the only ones that can force that to happen.

    November 15, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  14. GT Hill

    Mitt Romney is a Republican. The United States citizens have spoken. We do not want to hear Republican opinions any more. In fact, VOTE ALL REPUBLICANS OUT OF ALL OFFICES AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!!! They want to take us back to the good 'ole days. We cannot afford to go backward while the rest of the world moves forward.

    November 15, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  15. Joseph

    I praise the Obama administration for taking the time to actually plan the best course of action. Unlike our previous administration!!!!

    November 15, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  16. pattysue

    I agree with Mitt but I would have put it more succinctly than he did. In the words of my late dad,

    "Shut up and deal!!!"

    November 15, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  17. usualone

    It is easy to talk like these Romneys of the world. It doesn't really matter if we have 20,000, 40,000 or 100,000 troups in Afganistan. The same number of military folk will be put in harms way. Numbers won't defeat the enemies....however, strategic planning may actually work. That is what this President is trying to determine.

    November 15, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  18. Annie, Atlanta

    Terry, VA – this is sad, and your lack of knowledge of anything outside your little world is frightening. President Obama's bow was the proper protocol in this situation, just like it's proper for we Americans to shake hands. I've seen this all over the Ticker, and it's just sad that we're this ignorant. Just sad.

    November 15, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  19. Rain

    Well, making an important decision takes time, and that might interfere with Obama's travels.

    November 15, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  20. reggie from LA

    Hey Naysayers!!

    Maybe if there had been some "dithering" 8 years ago, maybe we would not have so many thousands of dead service men and women. Maybe 10s of thousands fewer women children and uninvolved civilians in Iraq and Afganistan. Its' not about the dead for many of you, is it? Its' about winning, Isn't. In the end, we will have won NOTHING. Maybe we would do well to be wise and begin to contemplate what Obama has contemplated for years...yes years, HOW TO SAVE MORE LIVES. Sending 40k troops may not provide that solution. Have you anti-Obama-ites studied the history of that war prior to U.S. entry? I thought not.

    November 15, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  21. Ruty

    Obama is taking his time, unlike George Bush, to make sure he is doing the right thing for OUR country. It is time for other countries to take responsibility for their own actions and stop expecting the U.S. to fight their wars for them. Obama has intelligence, unlike our previous president.

    November 15, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  22. Jacquie

    I'm glad the Obama administration isn't taking any crap from the village idiot Romney. Doesn't matter what he does Republicans will be against it, and they rail against Obama like somehow, how dare he be elected and be the President, as if it was their sacred right. To me, the Republican arguments lack any merit until they offer real solutions, not just no because the idea came from a Democrat or because they are out of power so they must obstruct every bit of progress or initiative. The Republicans want Obama to fail because they are selfish, power hungry unpatriotic idiots, and they have all the numnuts who have so little critical thinking skills that even speaking to them is frankly no better than having a conversation with a dining room table. They know no reason, just find every way to not take responsibility for the past 8 years and then slap all their baggage on an administration that got to inherit a huge mess, and then criticize every move to fix it. Guess what, I hope Obama simply asks one time do you want to be part of restoring America and if they don't the hell with have the power ram through everything you need to and tell them to get bent. Bi-partisanship is apparently not appreciated so I hope he stops. Who cares what they think? They got voted out of office for a reason. They suck at running a country except to let all the big wigs rape it.

    November 15, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  23. JB

    I find it very humorous in all the comments on CNN. This board has people complaining about Mitt Romney not knowing what he's talking about and he should shut up. Where were all these critics when Obama was talking about how bad a job George Bush was doing.

    People will see what they want when people talk. We will remain a country divided until people follow the issues more closely and stop taking what media sources say as gospel. Research things for yourself and then make an informed decision. Both sides will always bash the other, its not until we, as citizens, take control and figure out the truth for ourselves.

    November 15, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  24. Rick from Portland

    I wonder how many of the people critical of our President's careful and deliberate process have sons or daughters, brothers or sisters, who will be directly affected? It has been far too easy for the previous administration to send someone else into harm's way, based on bogus and self-serving rationale. Now that we actually have a leader who is weighing this decision with the deliberate process it deserves, the Chicken Hawks are being critical. Shame on you, saber rattling war mongering fools! If it was your son, your daughter, who would be sent, would you not want to ensure that there was a solid strategy in place, a clear set of objectives, the support of our allies and a viable partner in the Afgan government before your child went to war? I know this former Marine Officer would. God Bless President Obama, let us all pray for him as he makes such an important decision.

    November 15, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  25. GOP--Toughl Talk No Action

    *Dick Cheney–dodged Vietnam 5 times due to "other priorities."
    *George W. Bush-dodged Vietnam by using Daddy's influence to
    get into the Texas National Guard.
    *Dan Quayle–dodged Vietnam by using family's influence to get into
    the National Guard.
    *Rush Limbaugh–Vietnam Draft Dodger
    *Ronald Reagan–dodged WWII

    Yes, Bill Clinton dodged the draft too. But he wasn't out there claiming to be the ultimate authority on military matters and accusing Repbs of being appeasors and soft on terrorism, communism, etc.

    All of the GOP hypocrites listed above HAVE done that (and there are a lot more to where they came from....).

    November 15, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
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