Axelrod on the GOP field: Romney vs. an un-Romney
October 19th, 2011
05:14 PM ET
11 years ago

Axelrod on the GOP field: Romney vs. an un-Romney

Washington (CNN) – When asked about the shifting landscape in the GOP presidential race, President Barack Obama's senior campaign strategist David Axelrod attributed the back and forth to many Republican voters wanting to coalesce around a candidate that is unlike former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

"We've had Romney and an un-Romney in a variety of iterations throughout this campaign," Axelrod said Wednesday during an interview with CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.

"Michele Bachmann filled the role for a while, Rick Perry soared to the top and when he came down to earth, Cain took his place. Romney sits there at 23 percent, 24 percent of the vote in all these polls and the question is why aren't they buying Mitt Romney?"

Axelrod said Romney's vacillation on key issues has given GOP voters pause as they analyze his political career.

"He's been running for president for 6 years," Axelrod explained.

"He can shift so easily from position to position on fundamental things like health care, like choice, like gay rights and almost anything you put your finger on," Axelrod said.

Continuing this line of attack on Romney, the strategist said "you get the sense that everything is in service of running for office and so no position or principal is too great to abrogate in service."

"People don't know where his core is, they don't know what he believes and what principal he's actually fighting for other than his own advancement politically."

The president's chief strategist pointed to Tuesday's CNN Western Republican Presidential Debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, to comment on some of the other GOP hopefuls.

He had kinder words for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, saying, "he seems to believe what he believes. I suspect that what he says today is what he'll say tomorrow."

"So whether you agree with him or disagree with him at least you kind of have a sense of where he's coming from."

When asked about whether he agreed with President Barack Obama giving himself an "incomplete" when asked to grade his performance as president thus far, Axelrod co-signed that assessment.

"It took a long time to get in the mess we're in, it's going to take some time to get out," he explained.

"He's right to give himself an incomplete. We've got more work to do."

Filed under: 2012 • CNN Debate • David Axelrod • Mitt Romney • TV-John King U.S.A.
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Woman In California

    AIN'T that the truth? Romney can dress himself up ALL he wants and pretend to be presidential but when and IF he gets a chance to debate our president (who is actually presidential material) and who knows what the job actually means he will be left to look like a fool. The whole world will see first hand how slimy this guy is and that he REALLY doesn't stand ANYWHERE.

    October 19, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  2. tykl

    hmmmm........axelrod campaigning for perry. axelrod's show is not terribly difficult to see through.

    October 19, 2011 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  3. Ken

    The president is no more presidential than Jimmy Carter was. The Dems don't have a candidate that can do the job either. Axelrod knows that the administration is stuck and there is nothing they can do about it. We will be at a standstill until the administration cleans up their act, i.e. Solydra, Fast and Furious Gun Sales, etc.

    October 19, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  4. A Repulbican

    So, after all this, the tea party rallies, the fox news constant slams on the President, the hate llaguage we've lobbed, we're going with what was a first-rate liberal in Romney now pretending to be a conservative (it's so obvious this man is like a con and we're all falling for it so we can say we beat obama). I'm just afraid that after the election is over we will all have buyers remorse, there won't be Obama to blame, so what would we do but blame our selves? Or, we'll blame the tea party because all the true conservatives have decided not to run because they fear that they'll look like Perry when they don't meet their purity tests. it's truely a shame. Well, if slick talk and looks, and change of positions is all it took we should run Clooney, we just should said hey just change your position and we'll guarantee our vote!

    October 19, 2011 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  5. Jake

    I pretty sure Axelrod is hoping for a Perry matchup...I don't blame him! This guy is FAR from Presidential! He looked like a fool last night, and made the rest of the Republican party look a fool!

    October 19, 2011 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  6. Indy

    Romney reminds me of that rich kid that wants something really bad, just because he wants it and for six straight years he has been unemployed so he can just go after a powerful position. I dont think he would adjust well from the change of campaigning for six years to working 18 hours a day six days a week like Obama.

    October 19, 2011 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  7. Michael

    @ Ken
    "The president is no more presidential than Jimmy Carter was"

    Given the dire straits we are in right now, someone like a Carter would be a warm welcome!!

    Did you actually watch the "debate" last night? I didn't vote for Kerry, but he looks like a PhD holder in front of this bunch!

    October 19, 2011 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  8. Jeremy

    I'd still take a million Romneys over Obama. Obama is so slimy I can hardly stand to look at him. And I was on the fence in '08 – I liked Obama, but had nothing to go on regarding his record or experience. Now, it is a no-brianer – His record is horrible and his inexperience is embarrassing. 2012 can't come soon enough for this voter. Romney in 2012!

    October 19, 2011 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  9. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The only Republican candidates are little more than ideologues with the exception of Huntsman. He is the only one that seems to show some level of understanding and willingness to understand what evidence is presented to him. Obama won't face Huntsman because Huntsman won't win the nomination.

    October 19, 2011 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |