Axelrod to the media: The president is strong
September 16th, 2011
12:16 PM ET
11 years ago

Axelrod to the media: The president is strong

(CNN) – David Axelrod, President Barack Obama's senior campaign strategist, pushed back against negative media accounts surrounding the president's approval rating and said recent polling shows the majority of Americans agree with Obama's plan to create jobs.

In a memo to members of the media, Axelrod said news accounts of the polls have failed to put the figures into context, which he said includes the impact of the financial crisis as well as low approval numbers of Republicans and Congress. He also cited the figures as an example of the president's support among his base.

"Despite what you hear in elite commentary, the President's support among base voters and in key demographic groups has stayed strong," Axelrod wrote.

When asked if the line from Axelrod was directed at specific criticism, a campaign aide said it was a reference to the media, opinion columnists and pundits.

A recent piece by Democratic strategist James Carville, published on, said the White House should be in panic mode following the elections in New York and Nevada, in which Republicans were victorious.

A CNN/ORC International poll released Tuesday showed Obama with a disapproval rating of 55 percent, the highest of his presidency, mirroring other national polling from Gallup and NBC/Wall Street Journal.

Conservatives across the country have capitalized on Obama's low national and state-wide approval numbers, largely blaming him for the ongoing economic crisis.

The president is in the process of selling his long-term plan to reduce the deficit and national debt, as well as his jobs plan, to the American people and Congress.

The memo from Axelrod, who left the White House earlier this year to focus on the president's reelect bid, said Obama and the White House will remain focused on jobs and the economy, while Republican presidential candidates are "busy courting the Tea Party."

"The Republicans have yet to choose a nominee, and therefore, most Americans have yet to learn much about their records or visions for the country," Axelrod wrote. "When Americans learn the details of the Republican candidates' plans, the choice about America's future will come into clear view."

Ultimately, Axelrod said the 2012 election will be decided in swing states, like North Carolina and Nevada, where the president polls ahead of the GOP White House hopefuls.

"Ultimately it is in those battleground states where voters will choose, 14 months from now, between the two candidates, their records, and their visions for the country," Axelrod wrote.

Filed under: 2012 • David Axelrod • President Obama
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. deb0155

    Axelrod is dilusional along with all the other members of Obama's cabinet. What has happened to this country since Obama became President is catastrophic!

    September 16, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  2. Cotton

    Jack in Florida, I agree whole heartily! Before 2010 elections, the RNC & Repubs adhere to their talking poins: "Fire Pelosi", "President Obama is the worsest President we ever had". Their propoganda worked for them. They used success and progress of the democrats and turn it against the democrats. For example, the biparsitan budget office said the Afforbable Healthcaare Act would will start lowering the cost of healthcare when fully implemented. However, the Repubs have labeled the Act as Obama Care where now it is a dirty word. I suspect if the Supreme Court eventually gives its blessing, ObamaCare will be years from now what Medicare and Social Security – everyone, black and white alike, will be ready to vote every politicians out of office if they dare to get rid of ObamaCare. Again, if the democrats play hard politics like the Repub, the democrats would be more successfull.

    September 16, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  3. Canuck

    Whats happening in America is sad and troubling. On the one side you have a well-meaning but weak President who appears not to have the courage of his convictions and who will not fight for what he believes is right. On the other side you a have a bunch of religious nut cases, who blatantly are not in this for the man on the street. Unfortunately there seem to be many men on the street who seem blissfully ignorant of this fact and who may vote the evil Republicans back into power. I think Obama would garner more support if he was seen to be strong and willing to fight for his beliefs – nobody likes to see a weak President.

    September 16, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  4. Don

    Obama supporters sound more desperate by the day.

    September 16, 2011 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  5. Mary

    Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "Axelrod to the media: The president is strong"

    Me to Axelrod: Doesn't all that spinning make you dizzy?

    BaaaaaaaaaHaaaaaaaaaaa, 'Henry Miller, Libertaria'. Now that was a good one and oh so so true!

    September 16, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  6. QS

    Ah the poll dance! Polls are complete jokes and should not be taken seriously. Axelrod is correct, once people really start to see these candidates for who they truly are more people will start to understand why a vote for a republican is a dangerous thing.

    Those who honestly believe any of these candidates has a chance is fooling themselves...and worse, they probably genuinely believe that any of these people will do anything good for the country.

    The policies of the right since at least Reagan have slowly eaten away at this country and we are now reaping the consequences of those policies. Why can't conservative voters see these people for who they are....because sadly these are the people in this country who are actually just like the people they vote for – closed-minded, regressive-thinking, afraid of change, and want to turn this country into a theocracy.

    Unfortunately, even when Obama is re-elected, the trick will be that we also need to keep the Senate and take back the House as well – otherwise, we'll still have a good president but a Congress that will continue to do nothing for the next 4 years.

    September 16, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  7. PETER

    Somewhere in Kenya a Village is missing it Idiot...

    September 16, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  8. akwasi agyemang prempeh

    all these polls are misleading.Obama is going win landslide in 2012 elections.

    September 16, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  9. don

    All this president needs is Congress to work with him instead of trying to defeat him no matter what he does.

    September 16, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  10. GOP = Greed Over People

    While I am on of the 55% that disapprove of President Obama's handling of the economy, that should never be interpreted as a vote for the opposition of racist, knuckle dragging, heartless, heathens that make up the GOP!

    September 16, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  11. suzibee

    I am SO SICK of the Republicans disrespecting this President who is at least trying to fix the mess he was handed on Bush's silver platter – the problem is NOT the President – its our elected congressmen and women – think about that when you vote next time too...all the congress "people" are about is their egos and getting re-elected – Obama has done a lot for this country so far and he would do more, but the Republicans just say no no no – so sick of it – Republicans are only about the elections and themselves – not about our country's problems – I talked with a small business owner last night who told me he is just wishing and hoping the Obama jobs plan passes because it is a great plan...and he hopes the Republicans see that too. But they are stupid blind that way so he shouldn't get too excited I guess – really sad......

    September 16, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  12. Randy, San Francisco

    Axlerod is just putting a spin on this. James Carville is right about pushing the panic button and making personnel changes in the White House. Unless President Obama is willing to make a bold move on jobs, economy, and deficit, the 2012 presidential election is for the GOP/Tea Party to lose.

    September 16, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  13. ja

    the problem is the racist part of america was awaken, after a man of color was elected president, lots of the tactics, need i say more, the stunt pulled by joe wilson, trump, the feet drgging with the budget deficit, a certain portion of america want the president to fail at the expense of a thriving america, in war it is called collateral damage

    September 16, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. sonny chapman

    Obama thinks long term. That can be fatal for a politician.

    September 16, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  15. Cotton

    As GM goes, President Obama did not create the disaster, he is not clueless on the economy, he demonstrates strong leadership skills. Examples: Former President Bush started an Iraq war not paid for, he and the Repubs and conseratives squandered a surplus inherited by the previous administration and gave to the Wall Street and the millionaires and billionaires, Bush stated on tape at times "do not know where Osan Bin Laden is and do not take time to think about him".

    If we all would be honest, we would say what you say is not true. President Obama saved GM by a loan which the government provided and which the Feds made billions of dollars in return. Under President Obama, the country's economy turned around, though not robust, where the country stopped losing 700,000 or more jobs to gaining over 100,000 and 200,000 a month. Osan Bin Laden was on President Obama's mind during the 2008-2009 and afterwards until his Administrations got he who caused 9/11. I even think we Repubs, if we were truly honest, would have to admit President Obama, everything considered, have demonstrated stronger leadership characters than the late President Reagan. The historians will point this out later years after President has left office.

    September 16, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  16. Me

    The president needs to stop trying to work with the GOtP and start working against them.
    The GOtP has no intention of working with him. They ONLY want to destroy President Obama.
    They are willing to sacrifice the well being of this nation to destroy President Obama.
    They do this to regain power.

    September 16, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  17. willard

    Usa want get out of presdient obama alright so why axelrod was left leave at white house
    I'm feeling strongest belived that obama are keep too bad problems with his job for 3 yrs
    I said no excuse for axlrood and obama alright now

    September 16, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  18. I"m with u

    polls dont mean a thing because they only poll the same old white people over and over again. when you start polling people that dont have a job or people that have a job that has no insurance you see his number sky rocket. gop will lie to you every time think for yourself.

    September 16, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  19. JayDeeT

    Mr. Axelrod: With comments like that, it's no wonder that the White House is lost! I was an ardent Obama supported in 2008; now, i wouldn't take him with me to buy a new car - I would bring home a new car with no steering wheel, no brakes, and no head lights!!

    September 16, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  20. JohnP

    I believe that Obama means well, but he is a very weak President with not enough experience, he gets bullied by Congress to no end. Hillary has a bigger set and would not be afraid to use them.

    September 16, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  21. Tony

    Fair is Fair,

    Did you see today's Rasmussen poll? Obama leads Perry, 46% to 39%. Given that Perry is the GOP frontrunner and this is the Rasmussen poll, the GOP is in big trouble.

    September 16, 2011 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  22. LegendRx

    America is yesterday glory thanks to the republican leadership in congress. Main stream america seem to be clueless as they cling to their captive, of whom are the republican leadership of no. Holding the middle class hostage while threatening to blow up the economy as they dedicate their undying devotion to the wealthiest of the unpatriotic rich, the job creator for third world countries. Period. While our young soldiers die for our freedom . . . tell me what has the rich sacrificed? That's right, the middle class.

    September 16, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  23. TEA PARTY Mike

    Axelrod says strong, a host of polls show the American people say otherwise. Gallup approval rating at only 39%. Some polls showing Romney beating Obama. Guess Axelrod does not pay attention to polls.

    September 16, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
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