Not a big bird: Axelrod labels Romney a 'parrot'
October 23rd, 2012
01:16 PM ET
7 years ago

Not a big bird: Axelrod labels Romney a 'parrot'

(CNN) - David Axelrod, senior adviser to President Barack Obama's campaign, brought a new bird into the election vernacular, saying Mitt Romney's debate performance reminded him of a certain winged animal.

"Governor Romney in so many instances said that now he agrees with the president's policies," Axelrod said on Tuesday. "If Big Bird was the symbol of the first debate I think the parrot would be the symbol of this one."

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Axelrod's comments came on a conference call with reporters, where he confidently declared Obama the winner of the final presidential showdown Monday night in Florida. A CNN/ORC International Poll of debate watchers conducted after the event indicated that 48% said the president fared better, compared to 40% who said the same about Romney.

Romney made headlines for agreeing with the president on a number of issues, including the 2014 drawdown deadline for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, despite previously standing against Obama for announcing a timeline. The Republican nominee also found harmony with Obama on drone strikes, Egypt, Libya, and the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Axelrod argued Romney was playing too political with national security issues.

"It isn't a campaign, it isn't politics, there are lives at stake and the security of the United States of America is at stake," he said. "So that kind of parsing and shifting is not just offensive, but dangerous."

Romney's campaign, however, argues the candidate laid out clear distinctions in the debate. Vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan pointed to their disagreements on the likelihood of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon and on the scheduled defense cuts.

"This trillion-dollar cut in defense will devastate our defense, make us weak, project weakness abroad, and I think Mitt Romney did a great job of contrasting that," Ryan said Tuesday on CBS' "This Morning."

Despite recent polls showing the race in a dead heat, Axelrod sounded assured Tuesday about the president's standing as the campaign heads into the final stretch.

"We have the ball, we have the lead, we have a great push-off as a result of these last two very strong debate performances," Axelrod said. "I'm confident that we're going to win this race, and we'll know who's bluffing and who isn't in two weeks."

Romney's campaign responded to the comments made on the conference call, saying Obama's team was once again using "desparate" attacks.

“Three weeks ago (Obama Campaign Manager) Jim Messina was insisting they were ahead in the battleground states and today he is insisting they aren’t pulling out of any states. That doesn’t sound like ‘Forward’ to me," Romney's political director, Rich Beeson, said in a statement. "And while the Obama campaign continues to engage in desperate attacks, Governor Romney will continue talking about his plan for a real recovery for the middle class, which has suffered under the failed Obama policies of the last four years.”

Filed under: 2012 • David Axelrod • Mitt Romney • Presidential Debates
soundoff (32 Responses)

    Romney is a very dangerous empty suit!

    October 23, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  2. Geordie

    Axelrod is a little weasel and is the puppeteer of Obama.
    They have nothing to offer but mockery , sarcasm and petty name calling.
    Under Obama the White House and it's administration has lost it's decorum.
    I am so sick of their juvenile and irresponsible behavior .

    October 23, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. Christine

    Why haven't there been any stories about the fact that Mitt Romney's son, Tagg, owns the voting machines in key swing states such as OHIO? The son of a presidential candidate owning the voting machines that will determine the winner should never be allowed!

    October 23, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  4. Four and The Door

    In Axelrod's world, agreement is not a term normally used in political discussions, especially when it involves both political parties. This explains a lot about the Obama Administration. How's that working for America?

    October 23, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |

    Wiodering if any of those ace investigative reporters ask Nimrod why it took so long for Obama to call the "acts" in Lybia a terrorist attack? NOT!

    October 23, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  6. truth hurts

    More names and stupid jokes??? Is this all the Obama campaign has after 4 years???? WOW, pretty pathetic. And they want 4 more years? NO WAY!! It will be sooo nice when these fools are vanquished to Chicago to continue their insanity and stupidity there.

    October 23, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  7. g

    Even Romney had to acknowledged the fact that President Obama's policies are correct. Romney just validated the policies of the Obama Administration.

    October 23, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  8. Pale

    I don't understand why some pundits are saying Romney passed the commander in chief test when he was visibly sweating the whole night. Sweating and saying "I agree" is not a strategy.

    October 23, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  9. astu

    He does not know anything about foreign policy so to cover-up he has to agree with him since he can debate with him with unswer. Did you remeber Sarah Palin said he saw Russia from Allaska. It is really shame with RP have no idea about any other countries policy beside their's. Romney as like a rat to me last night.

    October 23, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  10. 4moreyears

    The guy was damn near drenched when the debate was over with. I feel a little bad for him bc he had no idea what he was talking just trying to hit all the talking points he memorized from his debate prep. It's sad that the guy has no real policies that he stand for. The guy falls for everything. This movie is gonna be better then The Game Change with Sarah Palin. LOL

    October 23, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  11. Pale

    Not just a parrot: a sweating parrot. I was surprises to hear some of the CNN pundits saying Romney passed the Commander in Chief test when Romney was visibly sweating the whole night. How does he expect to negotiate with other world leaders when he sweats so much debating President Obama?

    October 23, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  12. Anne

    Kerry, Obama, Axelrod, Biden bullying their way to a second term. Deja vu Mr. Axelrod, your campaign did this to Hillary and it worked; now the Americans realize what they lost. Are you incapable of a more decent strategy? Every time you open your mouth (you and that hysterical Stephanie Cutter), you just say something mean and stupid

    October 23, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  13. obama is Out Of Touch with reality

    is someone really listening to a person who generally lies about intelligence especially since axelrod doesn't even have a clearance he is just a mouth piece.

    October 23, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  14. Anthony

    Four and the Door, after 4 years Obama finally found a Republican who agreed with him on something. Of course, this is Romney we are talking about here, so you have no idea whether Romney meant it. Romney will probably change his mind right after the election.

    October 23, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  15. Peace

    Romney wants to be Commander-in- Chief but he can't send even one or two of his boys to the battle ground. Mr. Severely Conservative, people lead by showing examples.

    October 23, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  16. Howard

    EVERYONE knows that Obama's 11th hour proclamation that he has supported Israel ... is B.S. !!! ... Obama will say, or do ANYTHING to hold onto power ... including lies and coverups regarding Libya and Fast n' Furious !!!

    October 23, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  17. Wake up People!

    Willard flip flopped so far away from EVERYTHING he has been screaming for months. He lied and said what he thought people wanted to hear and 40% think he won?? Had this been President Obama, caught flip flopping like a fish out of water, he would have never made it past the primaries. The double standard applied to President Obama and Willard is ridiculous. It's like the repubs just expected President Obama to simply roll over and give the job to the misinformed, entitled elitist. First they complain that he is using Super Pacs because he wasn't a fan of them. But his opponent was using them and you don't bring a knife to a gunfight. Then Willard, who has run the most negative campaign in history starts with the negative ads during the primaries and decimates his opponents, all the while running negative ads against President Obama, but when the POTUS fights back, he and his flunkies cry foul??? It's like the GOP just thought they could walk all over President Obama and he wouldn't fight back.

    No wonder Willard and the rest of the right wingnuts long for the good old days. The days when a man that looks like our POTUS could lose their life for a look.

    OBAMA 2012!

    October 23, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  18. Getoverit

    OMG! Romney sweats! We can't have a president that sweats! LMFAO!

    October 23, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    Mittens is a joke. Joseph A. Bank called....they're missing an empty suit.

    "EVERYONE knows that Obama's 11th hour proclamation that he has supported Israel ... is B.S"

    Right. That's why the former Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Barak, who is now the Minister of Defense, has said that Obama has done more for Israeli security than any president in his memory? Or why the former head of Israel's intelligence agency, the Mossad, has said that Obama's got the correct stance and approach to these issues, while Mittens and his cowboy rhetoric are closing off all options but war? You seem to be incredibly informed, lemme tell ya.

    October 23, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  20. Getoverit


    Romney wants to be Commander-in- Chief but he can’t send even one or two of his boys to the battle ground. Mr. Severely Conservative, people lead by showing examples.
    Did Obama serve? Nope. Next......

    October 23, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  21. Ready

    Seriously Peace, You really think fathers should send their boys into war?? What kind of backward thinking is that, maybe the boys themselves should decide whether or not to enlist in a war where there is no draft.

    October 23, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  22. Jersey Girl

    To those voters who STILL haven't decided who to vote for (?!) I hope you were finally able to see what those of us who are paying attention have known all along: Romney has no core values, no integrity, no true beliefs, he is a total Etch-a-Sketchy, flip-flopper kind of guy! Sheesh! What will it take for you all to see that? Like I tweeted yesterday (don't know to who as I can't quite get the hang of it): "Romney's foreign policy experience is to be all over the map! #barackobama"

    October 23, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "In Axelrod's world, agreement is not a term normally used in political discussions, especially when it involves both political parties. This explains a lot about the Obama Administration. How's that working for America?"


    October 23, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  24. Wake up People!

    But Obama doesn't have 5 sons that haven't served either. Nor is President Obama a draft dodger. And President Obama is NOT trying to get us engaged in war with the entire world while his 5 physically fit sons sit around and live off their trust funds.

    It's like comparing apples to squash.....

    October 23, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  25. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Romney/Ryan have been parrots since the day one they started campaigning by repeating everything Obama says as a result Romney's mind is trained to agree with everything Obama says because Obama said it.

    October 23, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
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