May 20th, 2012
10:45 AM ET
11 years ago

Axelrod: Fund-raising pitch cited Wright threat to combat super PACs

(CNN) – David Axelrod on Sunday defended a fund-raising push on behalf of President Barack Obama's re-election that played off the threat of a proposed Republican-backed ad plan that would have linked the president to comments made by his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.

Obama's campaign adviser said the pitch, which came in an e-mail to supporters, was necessary to combat super PACs behind Republican candidates and causes. He specifically mentioned an independent group supported by Karl Rove that launched a month-long $25 million ad buy last week.

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"We put out a fund-raising letter because we're facing about a billion dollars of super PAC spending," Axelrod said on CNN's "State of the Union." "Our average donation is like $55. It would take 181,000 of those donations to match the one anonymous donation that Karl Rove got. And that's why we went out and reached out to our folks, because we need to combat this kind of tactic."

The proposed plan in question, first reported by The New York Times on Thursday, was pitched to and later rejected by billionaire Joe Ricketts, according to the Ricketts-backed super PAC and the company responsible for the plan. According to the Times, the spot in question would have linked "Mr. Obama to incendiary comments by his former spiritual adviser, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr." and would have been released around the Democratic National Convention.

Ricketts distanced himself from the proposal and Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, rejected the idea. But Axelrod said Romney did so "tepidly and reluctantly."

"The problem is you have to be consistent in your position, and you have to be genuine and firm in your position," Axelrod told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley after referencing a February interview in which Romney talked about Wright. "You can't be grudging in your position or you send the wrong signal. And I think he's sent the wrong signal."

Addressing the Times account on Thursday, Romney told reporters, "I repudiate that effort. I think it's the wrong course for a PAC or a campaign."

"I hope that our campaigns can respectfully be about the future and about issues and about a vision for America," he added.

On Sunday, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus accused Democrats and the president of perpetuating the story to avoid a discussion about the American economy.

"He wants this story to play out in the media, because for every day that David Axelrod and this president don't have to talk about their broken promises when it comes to jobs, the debt and the deficit, and the more time they can spend talking about hypotheticals that may or may not come true, is a day that they want to win on," Priebus said on CNN's "State of the Union," following Axelrod. "No matter what distractions he puts out there, he can't change the truth and escape the reality of where we are in this American economy - and it's no good."

Also see:

Rubio unleashes harsh attack on Obama in South Carolina

Gingrich stumps for Romney, calls for unity

NAACP backs same-sex marriage

Bush to return to White House for ceremony

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

Filed under: 2012 • David Axelrod • Fundraising • Mitt Romney • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. king

    Hey David let them bring up Adelaide rod and then give the American gullibles a lesson about what mormanism really is. I wonder what the burhers and the folks who think Obama is a Muslim will think. Lesson I know the repubs mantra that government doesn't create any jobs, corporations does. Please ask them what are they going to put in place to push corporations to hire people instead of robots, and computer systems, because every time Obama tries to nudge them to hire folks, they charge him with class war fare and decisiveness. Please ask them how will they get these so call job job creators to go against their shareholders and not consolidate and hire robots to save money. Obama has set these rich folks up to making more money than anytime in history and they still not hiring, because they know they've got the repubs to defend them and blame Obama for class war fare every time he ask them for their help.

    May 20, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  2. Tony

    If Romney's Super PACs want to stir up doubt about Obama's religion, it will backfire. Evangelical Christians, what do you think about Mormonism?

    May 20, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  3. !ST SGT

    Well why block it. It is the truth. The truth something Obama is afraid of. If the truth were ever told on him he would be behind bars as he should be.

    May 20, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  4. Gurgyl

    To all democrats, nation is experiencing a grave danger now than ever before by GOP thugs in their CULT, I beg you all
    Stay united on a single rope, drive these GOP animals out.
    Vote for democratic ticket directly, yes, obama2012. Period.

    May 20, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  5. Tubby the Tuba Texas

    The fact the Presdent was able to get anything done is an amazing feat considering the Party of NO! The Republicans are for the oil pipe running through the aquifer and contaminating millions of gallons of people water is ablsolutely stunning. Only the President, who is highly aware that stopping a chance to add a few thousands jobs to make his administration look better on the unemployment issue, that he is not willing to endanger a the people of several states vote the hope of increasing his odds for the Presidency. The Repbublicans are against punishing industry who outsource their jobs to foreign contries, they would rather increase taxes for the Middle Class and Poor. These Republicans are filthy rich and will not vote to pay higher taxes, whereas the President of these United States is willing to pay more in taxes along with about 30 other millionaires in this country. To me I see evidence of the President a a leader while the Republicans are lookig to make themselves lots of money at the Middle Class' and Poor's expense.

    May 20, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  6. vic , nashville ,tn

    Local news paper headline “Obama closes gap with Romney”

    OBAMA 41%
    ROMNEY 42%

    It is happening in Tennessee, yes we didn’t vote for AL-Gore but we will vote for Obama Romney is not our candidates simple

    GOP establishment and Money gave the Nomination to Romney, we (voters) didn’t give to him

    May 20, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  7. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Political ads have never influenced me. Most of the facts are in the Newspapers or Online somewhere so Political Ads are mostly a waste of time and money. For who the real enemy is, just Google POGO and drag the page down to where he says, WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY AND HE IS........

    May 20, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  8. hermine scates

    Some Please tell who said I hope he fails and the GOP took that and ran with it that is why the GOP will not allow any of his jobs go though because he will win abd look good.SOME ONE PLEASE TELL THE REAL STORY AND BECAUSE HE IS BLACK I WOULD SAY THAT UNLESS IT HAS SAID SO MANY TIMES NEXT WILL COME UP THE N WORD THEY HAVE SAID IT BUT SUGARED IT UP.

    May 20, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  9. Four and The Door

    "No matter what distractions he puts out there, he can't change the truth and escape the reality of where we are in this American economy – and it's no good."
    We will see in Obama/ Biden 2012 more and more effort to distract and try to change the discussion. I can guarantee you it will get odd. They have their work cut out for them trying to avoid the issues of national debt, jobs, the economy and the last 3 1/2 years of political games and out-of-control spending.

    In 2009 and 2010 the Democrats in Washington went crazy throwing borrowed money at their political agenda while the rest of the country was dealing with the economy and watching unemployment shoot up past 10%. The message in November will be the same message voters sent in 2010. Accountability. Obama made promises for obscene levels of spending and those promises have proved empty. Now we are just left with the debt and an unemployment level still above 8% even though so many Americans have given up looking for work.

    May 20, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  10. sayer

    Let's stay together. Obama 2012.

    May 20, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. insight iowa

    I never watch the Ads (for either party). I educate myself on the promises and facts. I'm a Republican voting straight Democratic Ticket 2012. I will give Obama a fair and honest chance to be President and for his "Hope and Change" and he will need a House and Senate for that. Also, I'm totally against Mitt and his plan (which isn't much now and what I can tell would damage the US more). I'm a US Citizen first... my party comes second.

    May 20, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  12. Anonymous

    "In all earnestness, though, Christensen added he's prepared to take the hunger strike as far as possible, even if that means all 38 days until the primary."

    So this is what the New Republican Party looks like? Hunger strikes and Jeremiah Wright? Thanks, but no thanks, GOPers.

    Might as well say "Thanks, but no thanks" to CNN as well for promoting this crap as political fodder.

    May 20, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  13. oilman

    Barry..... November 2012 cant come soon enough...

    May 20, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  14. chuck weidemann

    Our choice is very clear this election. Vote to take our country and it's system of governing back by voting out extremists or lose another 4 years by allowing t party fear and insecurity extremists to stop the smartest president in over a decade do his job as elected to do. It's a " no brainer"....except for agenda driven fear mongrels!!!

    May 20, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  15. Four and The Door

    insight iowa
    I never watch the Ads (for either party). I educate myself on the promises and facts. I'm a Republican voting straight Democratic Ticket 2012. I will give Obama a fair and honest chance to be President and for his "Hope and Change" and he will need a House and Senate for that.
    A fair and honest chance for Obama's Hope and Change!?!? Are you serious? The Obama Administration came into 2009 with 100% support from the American people. He wasted it on a partisan political agenda, thumbing his nose up at every Republican in Washington and the 60 million Americans who voted for them. What has he delivered? It is May of 2012 and unemployment is above 8%, national debt is $16 trillion and he has no budget and no plan forward. Nothing.

    Romney 2012

    May 20, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  16. Ancient Texan

    Tubby- there are THOUSANDS of pipe lines running through the aquifer already. West Texas and the Permian Basin oilfield is over the very same aquifer and the water is great.

    May 20, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  17. chuck weidemann

    The "have's" in this country are so afraid because of their excesses.... that the "have not's " want to take it away!! This is not the case at all. Most Americans want to be left alone to work and care for their loved ones and do their share. Not have to worry about what happens to their families if they should become sick ,not have government in their bedrooms and be paid a decent wage for a days work....that's it!

    May 20, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  18. Larry L

    @Four and The Door

    "We will see in Obama/ Biden 2012 more and more effort to distract and try to change the discussion. "
    The Fox News talking point you've been dedicated to for the last three years is about distraction from the real reality. George Bush's administration really did cause the problem. You wanted to give President Obama credit for the recession 6 months into his first term – yet you've never manned-up to the real culprit. IT REALLY WAS THE FAULT OF PRESIDENT BUSH'S POOR LEADERSHIP! The second distraction is from the Republican efforts to do nothing to help fix the problem. The third is from the fact Republicans only work to support the rich. These are true realities and everything you've said for years has never shown any ability to face them.

    May 20, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  19. chuck weidemann

    When someone has no real message or solution or constructive idea....they revert to fear and division to try and defeat programs for progress. Sound familiar? Remember where we were 3 short years ago....after eight years of trickery and no regulations on big money!!! Let's not go there again....the results won't be different. Change takes commitment and courage!! Fear preached b y people like "four and the door" comes from a lack of faith and vision. The sky is falling ....don't fall for it.

    May 20, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Hey, Larry L. You're being too generous to Four and The Door. He's been on Obama's case since the day after Obama was inaugurated. Seriously.

    May 20, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  21. Name edward mosley

    Sure wish candy crowley would ask the gop the same tough questions she seems always wanting to ask democrats! Sounds like another lou dobbs!!

    May 20, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  22. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    If Mittens is going to act like a spoiled whiny little sixth grade girl, he ought to step up and fight like one.

    May 20, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |