Axelrod has words for the Republican candidates
June 13th, 2011
05:06 PM ET
10 years ago

Axelrod has words for the Republican candidates

(CNN) - David Axelord, senior strategist for President' Obama's re-election campaign, sat down with CNN Chief National Correspondent John King to sound off on the Republican field of presidential contenders ahead of the 2012 GOP presidential debate Monday night. Below is some of what he had to say. Watch the full interview on CNN's "John King, USA" at 7 p.m. ET and tune in for the presidential debate at 8 p.m. ET on CNN.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann: "I think that she obviously has tremendous amount of appeal to the grassroots of her party. She raised a fantastic amount of money last year for her congressional race so she's got a following. I think she'll, she's got great appeal in the state of Iowa, which is where this process begins. And if she wins there, she could go far in the process."

Former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain: "I don't know him very well. I've seen him on television and so on. I do think it's hard to make the leap because experience does matter. I understand this argument and it's better not to be someone who has an experience in public life. But we'll see if people buy that."

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich: "Well it's interesting to hear him say that he wants, he's running because he's the guy who can change Washington. He's been such an interesting and sometimes polarizing figure in this town for the last 20 years. And I think what people are looking for is actually leaders who will rise above those kinds of partisan divisions and fierce partisan warfare at all times and look for places where we agree."

Texas Rep. Ron Paul: "He's an interesting guy. I will say this, he has, he has distinctive views and he's been consistent in those views. And he, too, has a following."

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty: "Well you know again he, he is new to the national scene. I did hear his speech on the economy … There was a question of standing. Can you leave your state with a $6.2 billion deficit and then moralize about fiscal responsibility. And I think you know everyone who runs for president learns that they have to end up confronting their own, their own statements, their own record, and so on."

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney:
"Well I do think that the experience of having run before matters and you know he's been running for president for what six seven years now so that's a lot of experience, and a lot of contacts generated, familiarity and that's all his benefit. There too though it's not what you say, it's what you've done and when he was governor of Massachusetts, Massachusetts was 47th in the nation in job creation. I don't know that that qualifies you as an oracle on how to revive the economy and so he'll have to explain why that was and why Massachusetts lagged the nation when he was governor in job creation."

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum: "He has to go and present that case to the American people [responding to his criticism of the president's domestic and economic policies]. I think the American people look at this president and they see a guy with very strong personal values, a good father, a good family man, someone who's caring and I don't think that they think that at all. Now there may be some small faction within the Republican Party that will respond to that and that may be his play in this. But as a matter of winning a national election I don't see that as a very constructive or successful message."

soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. zack

    Ron Paul is the only one that can beat Obama. His principled stands against our reckless foreign and fiscal policy are popular with independents tired of Obama's spendthrift warmongering.

    June 13, 2011 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  2. Harold

    Wait, Axe, you say every candidate eventually has to confront his past statements? Your guy Obama didn't.

    But guess what... he'll have to this time.

    June 13, 2011 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  3. val

    My two brother-in-laws are in management. They are hiring but they don't have the right applicants to fill in the jobs because of lack of education and skills needed to perform the task. Some hospitals in the Seattle area are hiring as well.

    June 13, 2011 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  4. ABM

    Every one of them bring nothing to the table. If the GOP insurgency focus their attention on working WITH the current administration we would (as a country) be in a much better place. Political partisanship is a game these people play with our lives and paychecks. The GOP has spent every day since the last election to discredit this President. Why? Why can't they act like leaders then when it is time for them to hit the campaign trail they would have something to show for it. Obstruction is not an attribute I look for when I am voting for someone.

    June 13, 2011 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  5. kayla

    boy i cannot wait to see this debate. will they attack the potus? i think they will, since they have no solutions

    June 13, 2011 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  6. Bob

    Wait until a winner emerges from this 3-ring circus. Then you'll see Axelrod go to work. Right now, he wouldn't have enough bullets.

    June 13, 2011 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
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