October 28th, 2012
10:05 AM ET
7 years ago

Axelrod: Negativity isn't Obama's closing message

(CNN) – Sharp campaign trail attacks on Mitt Romney don't reflect President Barack Obama's closing argument to voters in the final stretch of the race, one of his top advisers said on Sunday.

David Axelrod, speaking to CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley on "State of the Union," said Obama was focused on telling voters why he needs four more years in the Oval Office.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

"The president's closing message is exactly what I said before, which is we've made some progress," Axelrod said. "We have to build on that progress, and we have to move forward in a way that builds an economy that works for the middle class. What we can't do is go back to the failed policies of the past."

Axelrod's description of Obama's closing message to voters comes as Republicans attempt to frame Obama's campaign as overly focused on negative attacks, including his refrain that his rival is suffering from "Romnesia" and forgetting his past positions on important issues.

On Sunday, Axelrod said Romney was hitting just as hard as Obama, asserting the former Massachusetts governor was "pounding us pretty hard as well, because this is a close election."

"It's a choice," Axelrod continued. "There is no doubt that what Americans have in front of them is a choice."

"We're going to keep hammering away at that choice until Election Day," he said. "Because there's a better future ahead of us, but we need to grab for it and not go backward to the policies that put us in this mess in the first place."

As for the all-important momentum factor heading into the last full week of campaigning, Axelrod maintained his team was better positioned in the key battlegrounds that will determine the outcome of the election.

"I do think that Gov. Romney gained a little after the first debate," Axelrod conceded, saying that boost had "leveled off."

"I have said this to you many times over the course of the last year," he told Crowley. "It is a close race. As you look at these battleground states, we are even or ahead in virtually all of them, in these critical states like Ohio. We maintain a consistent lead."

Also on the CNN Political Ticker

- Obama courts young voters in MTV interview

- Coulter stands by use of controversial word to describe Obama

- A gridiron battleground

- Micro-targeting offers clues to early vote leads

Filed under: 2012 • David Axelrod • President Obama
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Anonymous


    Never in my lifetime have I seen a media so out of touch with those people whom it professes it is out to protect with truth and honesty.

    CNN, has followed the FOX News example (and a great many other "mainstream" outlets are following suit) of outright adapting a message that simply can't be born out with facts. So, they make up the facts and report it as truth. Recent polling comes to mind. Bogus polling comes to mind. Corporate owned polling comes to mind. All of it centered in areas which probably are Republican strongholds: Georgia, Alabama, Texas, Nebraska, etc. Then, to further the discussion in Mitt Romney's favor, these polls include a handful of Democratic demographics within an already overweighted Republican demographic. Same applies to swing states.

    Mitt Romney runs our American media and has throughout this election process. Remember the "inflated" polls numbers for those who were Romney opponents during the primaries ... all done to scare voters into voting for Mitt Romney? All done intentionally and with one agenda: Get Mitt Romney the nomination anyway possible. Mitt Romney now wants to run our country through media manipulation and lies.

    Both are not mutually beneficial to America ... certainly NOT the America I want to live in.

    October 28, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  2. Barr Viag

    I wish Obama luck in the elections. He assumed office under difficult circumstances

    October 28, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |

    cool – i got the hint - our dirty secret LMFAO

    October 28, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  4. levendi

    So, "It's a choice," Axelrod continued. "There is no doubt that what Americans have in front of them is a choice." Yes, indeed there is a choice of socialist handouts of spending that cannot be sustained without more borrowing and interest payments that exceed our tax revenue. All you have to do is think of your own household instead of Axelrod's talking points. Can YOU sustain a household by continually borrowing more than you make? Obama had zero experience of a job or running anything and he was voted in. Romney is a seasoned veteran of decision making. You can vilify him all you want but he won't be partying, playing golf and shirking his responsibilities. He's going to roll up his sleeves and balance the budget, like he has done all his life. Obama has been in office for years without a budget and you all swallow that hook line and sinker over class warfare and socialist ideology.

    October 28, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  5. Anonymous

    No problem, Alexlerod. We know he isn't. But it is THE newest Romney talking point meme that the media is now picking up and throwing out to "discuss". Romney has been manipulating the media for a year now. You didn't think journalists would actually catch on to the manipulation, did you?

    A bit dunce of them not to have caught on by now, I know. Wall Street is Wall Street...and Wall Street controls the media. For those who haven't yet figured it out, Mitt Romney is nothing more than a Wall Street talking point memo himself.

    October 28, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  6. vic , nashville ,tn

    1) Nation is divided I wish election to be over sooner
    2) I support Obama my vote for him he understand the issues
    Romney’s economy plan looks theoretically good for some people, practically impossible. Europe, China, India economy growth is slowing down .even 3 point GDP is impossible.

    October 28, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  7. plain&simple

    Nothing more refreshing than a tv ad not banging on the opponent at this time of year. Very wise!! In person on the trail bang away. In my living room give me substance!!!!

    October 28, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  8. omega

    One subject that has remained taboo during the entire campaign and that even President Obama has not dared touching upon for fear that it would rekindle old flames, is the question of race. The battle lines are essentially the same as they were during the civil war. The south, in the name of freedom from Federal intervention, demands the same today as it did 150 years ago, but with an added twist. It is s black president who seeks re-election. Granted many whites did vote for Obama four years ago but it was out of sheer frustration with the Bush administration and the disaster of his foreign intervention. Yes, race is the factor Romney is counting on while never pronouncing the word.

    October 28, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  9. ronb

    Poor little willard. Whining because he's being picked on in a presidential campaign. Boo-hoo. The best way to stop them from picking on you mitt, is not to whine about it, but rather, prove them wrong..... The world's awaiting!

    October 28, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  10. joe

    don't let up on the romnesia. Whats so bad about calling mitts flip flopping for what it is.? Good lord the man has been all over the map saying what ever the electerate wants to hear. He lies with a straight face and makes up stories to suite the event. His business experience that he braggs about consists of shipping jobs overseas and fireing people and bankrupting companies. The olympics was paid in part from federal grants that he begged for. Wake up america this guy keeps his money off shore so he doesnt' have to pay taxes on it. He invests in china and will continue to ship jobs over seas. He does not care for 47% of us . Women will suffer under this guy as will minorities and gays and the elderly. He is only for the rich 1% so students go ask your folks for more money for school. Forward. 2012

    October 28, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  11. Four and The Door

    Obama/ Biden 2012's entire campaign has been trying to avoid the real issues: Jobs, The Economy, National Debt and a plan forward. America deserves better than the partisan political circus Obama's Administration has created in Washington. We do not need a President incapable of working with those in congress who represent half of America.

    October 28, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  12. GOP = Greed Over People!

    Certainly the ones we see in GA are not negative, he tells us what he will TRY to do, then humbly ask for my vote.

    October 28, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. Anonymous

    @Four and The Door.

    You really need to stop pretending to be something you aren't. Informed comes to mind. Your talking points smack of hypocrisy and foolishness. Oh, by the way. Do try thinking up your own meme for once. It'll make your comments more plausible.

    October 28, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  14. Anne

    is it just me, or Axelrod didn't attack Romney that much in this interview? Is the Chicago machine really losing?

    October 28, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  15. gene

    Florida went to vote lots Romney + tee people right on the steps whit sings telling people hoo to vote for WOW SO sad

    October 28, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  16. jj

    Romney's closing speech is about "big change" which i think even he doesn't know how to define it. Romney is not tied or ahead in virtually all the polls in battlegrounds....plz stop lying and manipulating ppl's perception...just on Friday CNN poll said obama was 4points ahead in Ohio and 8 out 11 poll in ohio alone said Obama was leading...don't think ppl are fool and fall for your words

    October 28, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  17. Listening

    Omega. I disagree with you on the race issue.The conservative base actually wanted Condi Rice to run for president more than the folks that decided to run and in the convention, her speech received the loudest ovation. You also need to remember, if you are going to draw parallels to past, that it was the republicans that freed slaves while many democrats and federalists owned them. As someone who has grown up in the hood and project housing, I can tell you FDR and LBJ giving us free housing and free money wasn't really a gift. Most of our families have never been able to escape these hellholes that the democratic party banished us into in the first place. We feel racism all around and not just from one party. The dems have used us for votes but keep their foot on our throats so that we never leave the ghetto.

    October 28, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  18. Liz the First

    Unfortunately, Obama is too polite to come out and say the republicans have been committing treason over the past 4 years by keeping the economy in the toilet in order to defeat him this year. but that is the reality of what has happened. i thought the repub base was supposed to be patriots. obviously not if they support treason. as for RMoney's big change, it would be a change from progress toward peace and prosperity and back to recession, possibly another Great Depression, and more wars. it would be a change from progress on combatting global climate change and back to unlimited pollution that will ultimately be the demise of the human species. it will be a change from promoting tax fairness and a healthy middle class to back to the bad old days of the robber barons and the desperately poor with no one in between. it'll be a change from women having the right to decide their own health care to the days of thousands of women a year dying at the hands of back alley abortionists. is this the 'change' any sane person wants?????

    October 28, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  19. Rick McDaniel

    Obama's ONLY message........."I think I AM GREAT.......so vote for me, just because I am a conceited, arrogant, narcissist!"

    Never mind, that my record is a disaster........or that I pushed a health care on the nation, that NO ONE WANTED!

    Just vote for me, because I want you to.......not because I deserve it.

    October 28, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  20. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    My wife looked at the first presidential debate and stated that Romney was so negative because he'd be cancel this and repeal that. It strikes me that there is a lot that Romney would either undo or stop that is having a beneficial effect for the country.

    October 28, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. Proud Hispanic Italian American

    I would have to say there is definitely an underlying race issue, especially in the south. These special folks still fly the confederate flag as if it is something to be proud of and I have actually seen bumper stickers that read "the bro must go". But the most entertaining is the one that reads "vote biblical, not political". Which pretty much sums up the fact that these people are feeding into the right wing nut job godly crap that wants to pull women back into the 50s. Which isn't surprising if you talk to people around here.

    I am just in awe about the fact that the GOP can go around bashing people all day long but the first time you swing back they start whining. It reminds me of high school when the rich kods would act like hard asses but immediately gey their butt kicked in a fight or rin and tell their rich dad.

    October 28, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  22. Corey

    Really? He's got nine days to make up for the past year or so. Good luck trying to rewrite history...

    October 28, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |