Axelrod: Right-wing politics preventing economic action
August 21st, 2011
11:11 AM ET
10 years ago

Axelrod: Right-wing politics preventing economic action

(CNN) – President Barack Obama’s senior campaign strategist warned Sunday that Republicans catering to tea party politics threatened much-needed progress on job creation.

David Axelrod told CNN’s “State of the Union” that Obama would unveil a reasonable jobs plan in September calling for steps previously endorsed by both parties. However, he said, Republican leaders must put aside the kind of political gamesmanship that “brought us to the brink of default” during the debt ceiling negotiations to act in the best interest of the country.

“I think what you’ll find when the president unveils the entire program is that there’s nothing in there that reasonable people shouldn’t be able to agree on and if we make the House Republicans and particularly the tea party faction, if we make them the standard, we’re in deep trouble,” Axelrod said.

Short-term and long-term solutions are necessary to accelerate the U.S. economy that has taken recent hits from world events, including the Arab spring protest movement that has increased gas prices, the earthquake in Japan and shaky European economies, said Axelrod, who left the White House earlier this year to work on Obama’s re-election effort.

The president’s plan is expected to include an extension of the payroll tax cut passed in January as well as spending on infrastructure development, such as rebuilding or repairing roads and bridges, in an effort to help the long-term unemployed, Axelrod said.

He blamed politics for the lack of action in Congress, pointing specifically to conservative Republicans.

“I hope that over this break they’ve heard from their constituents, they’re ready to rethink this,” Axelrod told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. “The only thing that keeps us from acting on this is pure politics.”

His comments follow the president’s three-day bus tour aimed at promoting the administration’s rural economic development initiatives and pivoting the national conversation toward job creation.

Obama has come under criticism from his liberal base for what they complain is yielding too quickly to Republican intransigence by moving to the political center instead of standing up for Democratic ideals.

Amid the president’s bus tour, members of the House Congressional Black Caucus, many of whom are strong Obama supporters, said he should also visit urban communities when traveling the country.

Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California was perhaps the loudest voice over the past week, telling CNN on Saturday that it’s time for Obama “to fight” for Democratic principles and focus on African American communities facing higher unemployment rates than elsewhere in the country. On Sunday, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland echoed Waters’ call on CNN.

“On the one hand, they’re very protective, they really care,” said Cummings, the former chairman of the Black Congressional Caucus, of how African American members of Congress regard Obama, the nation’s first African American president. “On the other hand, almost every African American person I’ve talked to said they want him to fight and fight harder.”

Cummings summed up the attitude of African Americans as: “If the Republicans aren’t going to work with us, we’re just gong to have to go it alone and stand up to them. Don’t back down. Period.”

- CNN's Tom Cohen contributed to this report.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. bill

    And the curroptocrats blame game continues. It was Bush. It was the Tea Party. It was the earthquake in Japan. It was the Tsunami. It was Europe. It was global warming. It was Boehner. It was the Tax cuts. It was the Arab Spring. It was Reagan. It was the Gulf Oil Spill. It was Wall Street. etc. etc. etc.

    August 21, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  2. TeaParty Mike

    Mr. Axelrod seems to be going on the assumption that a majority of voters will support Obama's new jobs plan.
    Given the track record of all the major policies under Obama, this would be a first.
    Polls showed a majority of voters did not want or support the only budget passed by Obama and the Democrats, the stimulus, auto bailouts, Obamacare and Cap and Trade passed by Democrats in the House. Polls show a majority of voters continue to be opposed to all these measures.
    So when Obama releases his plan, odds are a majority of voters will not support it. If they do, it would be a first for Obama.
    If a majority of voters do not like it, there will be no voter pressure on Republicans to support it either. Instead there would be pressure on the Democrats to compormise with Republicans and create a jobs plan they do support.

    August 21, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  3. maikl

    It's not joke anymore. They blame anybody,but not Obama adm. The worst president ever. We never get what we got now. His vacation cost so much, but mil. people not even dream about vacation. Shame on Obama.

    August 21, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  4. condelessa

    There are two possibilities in this scenario: (1) A fantasy solution (2) a reality solution . . . . Go figure!!! The TEA Party might be living in a fantasy world, but they are taking DOWN America!! And my common sense mind tells me there will be NO changes in their direction when they get back to work in September. They are determined to take down this President, and will do ANYTHING to get the job done!! So I will live the prophesy that a friend of mine once professed: "DON'T EXPECT ANYTHING AND YOU WON'T BE DISAPPONTED"!!

    August 21, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  5. mfrancis

    stop trying to make every thing privatize it do not create jobs all it those is allow the few to make a profit and the many to suffer.i went to school for film but i cant get money to make a movie.been unemployed for over 2 years i am no longer counted as being unemployed. i have a son to take care of and all i see is people with a lot of money talk about jobs congress senators making millions i see why they will not take the rich.

    August 21, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  6. mfrancis

    the president Is not the only person that need to create jobs.congress ,senators we elect these people to create a brighter future.i have no idea why they say cuts is whats needed.if the country is growing why do you add less to it.

    August 21, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  7. Debbie

    I would LOVE to see Obama become more like Teddy Roosevelt but I know it's a pipe dream. I was a Republican for 35 years (now registered Independent) and finally realized that the GOP tent pushed out all who were center right and taken over by zealots in issues of men, $$, and materials.

    August 21, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  8. Anthony... proud tax payer

    We can argue on a message board all sunday.
    Doesnt make Axelrod's statement any less true.

    August 21, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  9. 14 Characteristics of Fascism

    Everyone knows who is pushing for "NO" recovery just look at the radicals who have been voting "NO" on every proposal of recovery. It's real simple for those who are not simple – and those who don't follow the fox propaganda.
    Just follow the nonsense ~ "a fillabuster proof congress in 2008/2009" – "national socialists", "Polls continue to show that a majority of voters did not want stimulus one passed", "Team Obama could have had everything they wanted back then", "The President is not interested", these sleazy & baseless lies show just how gullible the fox followers are – all of these childish comments were initially concocted at Fox & Frank Luntz's compound of anti-American-isms.
    What ever you do don’t read the “14 Characteristics of Fascism”.

    August 21, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  10. ChumBucket

    Coonsey, How exactly are the Republicans to get anything thru the Senate? Republicans in the House have passed Many job creating bills, your guy, Harry Ried, will not let any republican plan that passed in the house, come up for a vote in the Senate.

    Tell me again how it's the Republicans who are obstructing anything?

    August 21, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  11. gavin

    The best thing the Republicans can do is to approve new Obama's jobs plan. A payroll tax cut and spending on infrastructure projects will have little if any affect on the unemployment numbers. First, the US needs to change from a consumption economy to an investment economy if it wants to seriously create jobs. A payroll tax cut now will not lead to more consumption, but will be used by most consumers to payoff debt. Second, spending on infrastructure will only help laid off construction workers and illegal aliens and does nothing for middle class professional workers. Obama's job'e plan will fail on its own. These are old ideas that will not work in the new economy. Republicans will be smart to support Obama's pans as they then can't be blamed as being obstructionist.

    August 21, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  12. Jake

    more people need to start speaking out against the tea party...they are the biggest threat to America today!

    August 21, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Axelrod, your plan for jobs creation is simply to just bring us more of the same agenda-driven economy killing programs that you did in your failed near trillion dollar"stimulus". Frankly I - apparently along with most of America - are thankful that at least SOMEBODY is putting the breaks on that "plan". You had your chance to do something good two and a half years ago and you gave us little stimulus and over a half trillion dollars of political "thank yous" to those groups and industries that funded your 2008 elections.

    What's the saying? "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." We're not as foolish as you so offensively seem to think we are.

    August 21, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  14. thomas

    Please tell me how much two ten year wars cost ?

    And how did Bush pay for them ?

    Perry / Palin 2012
    Job creators!

    August 21, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  15. GWB

    Justr one question... ..why is Obama waiting until Sept?

    August 21, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  16. cgsailor

    If it weren't for the Loyal Opposition, regardless of the name you place on them, Pelosi/Reid/Obama would just keep spending the nation's funds on their pet projects. If you happen to be a beneficiary of those, then you want those days to continue. As one who doesn't and is getting hammered to support them, I want it to stop.

    Oh...Axelrod is a partisan idiot.

    August 21, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  17. TeaParty Mike

    Maxine Waters said also said the Tea Pary can go straight to Hell. That was civil. Another example of how Democrats are taking Obama's advise on a more civil discourse. I am sure Pelosi will give a press conference soon where she will be weeping about how such talk will lead to violence against people in the Tea Party.
    Truth is it is just one more example of Obama and the Democrats saying one thing to impress independent swing voters and then doing another hoping the independent swing voters are not watching.
    From the point of view of the Tea Party, I do not mind such harsh comments from the progressive, socialist left. Such hateful and crazy talk comming from members of congress like Waters or left wing pundts does more harm in the eyes of rational people than it does to the Tea Party. And if also confirms what the Tea Party already knows. We have real power to make positve change for America. If the Tea Party had no power, left wing progressives would not bother to give us any attention.
    Without the Tea Party there would be no defict reduction at all at this point in time. Democrats would still be refusing to cut any spending. Not everyone may like how the defict reduction came about, but a solid majority of voters wanted it and a solid majority want more.

    August 21, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  18. scieng

    Until the Dems quit increasing the cost of doing business in America, jobs will continue to suffer. We expect these lies from Axelrod, because he is not able to work with the truth. If Obama wants more jobs, he had to retreat on the massive increases in regulation and punishment on American business, and create confidence that American business will be allowed to prosper. Otherwise, Obama will continue his war on the middle class.

    August 21, 2011 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  19. Manny

    Very nice all those ideas about investing in the infrastructure, education, inner city problems, payroll tax cuts, unemployment benefits, etc. Where is the money? I know election time is just around the corner.

    August 21, 2011 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  20. terry,va

    Major difference of opinion how this country should go forward. Pick Obummie and his idiots you have a welfare state with big government controlling everything. Choose the Repub and work to get ahead and have some pride in standing what Amaerica was founded on. Welfare vs Work....hmmmmmmm

    August 21, 2011 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  21. ahetch

    The president never had the majority in congress due to the blue dogs. You know what a blue dog is, don't you? A republican who has infiltrated the democratic parry. If you vote dem. find out who is running. Just because they have a D after their name doesn't mean anything.

    August 21, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    It's amazing how republicans refuse to take blame for anything, the foolishness and intellectual dishonesty of the right wing is going to bring america to it's knees.

    August 21, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  23. Jilli

    Axlerod is right – the republicans are now voting AGAINST legislation that they authored or sponsored. The insurance mandate was a republican idea, cap and trade, they weren't anti-climate change, they used to support extending unemployment benefits, etc. They are voting against issues they used to champion. The are voting AGAINST Obama, not for what's right or wrong. It's all just a pathetic political game to them. I hope all the unemployed realize this and vote accordingly because under republican rule it would only get worse.

    August 21, 2011 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  24. ahetch

    The tea party are American terrorists. If you can't see that, you are ideologically blind.

    August 21, 2011 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  25. Faber McMullen

    Why are the Dems blaming Republicans? The Democrats controlled both houses of congress and the presidency for the first two years of this failed presidency, and THEY DID NOTHING TO CREATE JOBS WHEN THEY CONTROLLED IT ALL! STOP BLAMING REPUBLICANS FOR YOUR INACTION.

    August 21, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
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