February 23rd, 2012
04:30 PM ET
11 years ago

Axelrod on GOP candidates: 'All hat, no cattle'

(CNN) - David Axelrod, senior strategist for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, responded Thursday to GOP attacks against the president from the CNN Arizona Republican Presidential Debate and described the candidates as "all hat, no cattle."

"It seemed like such a negative grinding affair, going after each other, going after the president and certainly going after the country," Axelrod said in an interview on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer." "That was a dispiriting thing to watch."

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Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney made one of the strongest digs against Obama in Wednesday night's debate when he said the president was making unprecedented attacks against religious freedoms.

Hitting back, Axelrod said Romney's remarks was a "preposterous statement" and pointed to the administration's recent "compromise" on the contraception coverage controversy.

"The fact is that Mitt Romney has proven he is willing to say whatever he thinks he needs to say to close the deal with these Republican primary voters," Axelrod said, repeating a line he's used throughout the race.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, meanwhile, argued during the debate that Obama was "afraid to stand up to Iran" and previously opposed sanctions against the country for developing its suspected nuclear weapons program.

But Axelrod countered saying the president has "brought the world along in the most withering set of sanctions against any country" and pushed the Iranian economy into "disarray."

"This notion that somehow the president hasn't stood up to Iran stands in contrast to what Iran is saying and what is obvious from the facts," Axelrod said, adding that none of the candidates suggested they would do anything differently than what the president is doing right now.

"You know we got a lot of this–what do they say down South? All hat and no cattle?" Axelrod said.

In the debate, Gingrich reiterated a line he's used throughout the week, calling Obama the "most dangerous president" on national security grounds in history.

To that, Axelrod said, "I'm sure Osama bin Laden would like to offer a rebuttal to that, if he could. All the leadership of Al Qaeda, two-thirds of which have been destroyed, would probably offer a different testimony to that."

Also see:

Five things we learned from Wednesday's debate

Detroit Free Press endorses Romney

Candidates enter critical phase after possible final debate

Obama to talk energy and gas prices at Miami speech

Watch The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer weekdays at 4pm to 6pm ET and Saturdays at 6pm ET. For the latest from The Situation Room click here.

soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Ronald Romney

    He pulled the Bin Laden card? Really????

    Mitt is the most straight laced and honest family man I've seen in politics for a long time. I actually knew alot about the guy before his eye was ever on the presidency. It seems that many people don't have the sense or insight to realize it. So they drone on with their party lines, and whatever the "slam of the day" is by the libral media. The guy does not deserve the treatment he's getting. If you think Obama is more deserving and qulaified then Mitt, you're drinking the Kool-Aid. Now let the insults and objections begin!!!

    February 23, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  2. Ronald Romney

    Mitt has the hat and LOTS of cattle! You can't ignore his success and his leadership. Um...I guess people can.

    February 23, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  3. Jim

    I cant beleive this is all our party can come up with, DISASTER

    February 23, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  4. glorydays

    Don't care for Axelrod, but he's right on this one. The GOP has been brought to their knees by simpletons with simple minds.

    February 23, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  5. indigo

    Gingrich's comment is laughable not to mention outright false and smelling of hypocrisy - Obama has been the MOST effective President in terms of our national security, or does getting OBL and a bunch of other bad guys not count to Gingrich??

    February 23, 2012 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  6. SafeJourney

    THe GOP have lost their way. THey are ill .

    February 23, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  7. macbil

    Axelrod and the rest of the Obama re-election team will have the easiest job in the world come the Fall. All they have to do is play video of whoever the nominee is and Obama will be re-elected. The GOP is committing suicide by trying to "out-conservative" each other.

    February 23, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  8. SafeJourney

    Huntsman was a moderate. But the extreme religious right wing nut jobs would not have any of that. You made your Bed GOP by allowing the TP and the extreme religious right wing to take over your party

    February 23, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  9. ufadoof

    It's was sad watching the audience cheer over all the candidates (except Paul) banging the drums of war. They whine and complain about the national debt and then propose starting another costly war. These people are dangerously ignorant. These idiots make Reagan look like a Karl Marx.

    February 23, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  10. westward

    Or, "All party, and no people".

    February 23, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  11. Mike500

    The Elephant...
    Obama didn't 'lead' anything in Libya. And it's not a success until we see that what follows Ghadafi is any better. There was no 'stones' involved in the bin Laden raid, as to not do it would have been political suicide once word got out. And it would have. As it was he dithered for 6 months making the decision. On the Gulf oil spill Obama didn't even show up for 53 days. Stop drinking koolaid and think.

    February 23, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  12. J.V.Hodgson

    Four and the door.
    There must be more sleazy people around than Axelrod.
    Yes you are right, its you !! You just spout Republican policy as though its 100 true and much of which is not. Your so called facts are often totally wrong... now that is sleazy!!

    February 23, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  13. ChuckBd

    How short is this guys memory. He has forgotten how Clinton and Obama went after each other.

    February 23, 2012 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  14. Geo

    What is troubling about the Republican Party is the Say Anything approach. They can say anything, no matter how obviously false, and their true believers will believe. Again and again, endlessly. Not that Democrats don't BS or misuse the facts, but the lies of the Republicans aren't even good lies. It's like they fail at everything, fail to run the country, fail the middle class, failed the economy, failed to win any wars, failed to get Osama, now failing at primaries with failing candidates and finally fail at even telling a good lie.

    Another thought, someone could make a rather large political party of I-used-to-vote-Republican-and-never-will-again Independents.

    February 23, 2012 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  15. c'mon america

    What's really unfortunate is that people actually apllaude at what they say . How do you get to be in your 20's , 30's , 40's , 50's , and so on without knowing what's going on around you ?

    February 23, 2012 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
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