August 12th, 2014
11:32 AM ET
8 years ago

David Axelrod smack-tweets Hillary Clinton

(CNN) - Zing!

David Axelrod, former adviser to President Barack Obama, hit back Tuesday against Hillary Clinton's recent criticism of Obama's foreign policy.

In an interview with “The Atlantic” published over the weekend, Clinton argued the decision not to arm Syrian rebels early on had led to Islamic militants taking over swaths of territory in the region.

The former secretary of state also took a swipe at an oft-repeated phrase Obama uses to sum up his foreign policy choices - “Don’t do stupid stuff.”

"Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle," Clinton said.

In his tweet, Axelrod appears to be knocking Clinton's 2002 vote as U.S. senator in favor of the Iraq War. (Of course, his tweet can also be aimed at Republican hawks who support a harsher response to the current situation in Iraq.)

The PAC for the progressive group MoveOn also tweaked Clinton.

“Secretary Clinton, and any other person thinking about seeking the Democratic nomination in 2016, should think long and hard before embracing the same policies advocated by right-wing war hawks that got America into Iraq in the first place and helped set the stage for Iraq’s troubles today,” Ilya Sheyman, the PAC’s executive director, said in a statement Tuesday.

Clinton later said she regretted supporting the authorization of the Iraq war.

"I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had," Clinton writes in her new book. "And I wasn't alone in getting it wrong. But I still got it wrong. Plain and simple."

The recent tension between Clinton and Obama's team invokes memories of their 2008 battle for the Democratic presidential nomination, when the two candidates butted heads over foreign policy.

A White House official said Monday that the White House is not getting amped up over Clinton's interview. They don't see this as her break-away moment, according to the source, though they anticipate she will move away from Obama over time.

The President and his former chief diplomat will have a chance to talk things out Wednesday night; the two are expected to attend the same event in Martha's Vineyard.

Clinton is also getting hit by the Republican National Committee, which accuses Clinton of playing politics on the issue.

"You can't distance yourself from this administration’s foreign policy when your job for four years was to lead its foreign policy," RNC spokesman Sean Spicer said.

CNN's Ashley Killough, David Chalian, Dan Merica, Jim Acosta, and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Filed under: David Axelrod • Hillary Clinton
soundoff (277 Responses)
  1. Silence DoGood

    Meanwhile, the fast food president is once again out on the golf course... two rounds today. He's voting absent just like he did during his senate career.
    The two modes of conservative hate/rant:
    The President does not act – he is "absent".
    The President does act – he is a "dictator".

    August 12, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  2. HRC truth

    After six years of the Obama administration, are Americans safer now with a "varsity" ISIS/ISIL???

    August 12, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  3. Vivelvin

    Hillary Clinton recognized how inept Obama has been vis-à-vis foreign policy...she could only do so much and then she had to get out. It's time for Democrats to stop supporting Obama with regard to foreign policy; He hasn't got a clue.

    He's great at helping the disenfranchised...but not much more. That said, I certainly support the air strikes against ISIS...I think we need to wipe them off the planet. They are not about religion or freedom or anything resembling the way a group might want to organize to help people. No, they are against Israel, all Western thought, and any religion that is not paying allegiance to their twisted, disgusting version of Islam.

    Furthermore, "Move On" needs to just "move out." Many of us Democrats are sick and tired of of these twenty-something year-old "progressives," so myopic they can't see the real threat that ISIS poses to the "civilized" world. Hillary Clinton recognizes the danger of such a bunch of sub-humans gaining territory and power, and she has the mettle to put a stop to it.

    I don't think Hillary Clinton is a Hawk, but I sure as hell don't think she is a chicken like those at Move On.

    August 12, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  4. dave

    anything to score Hillary... close but no cigar

    August 12, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  5. hussein ovomit

    Obama. Hehehehahahahehehehehelololololol. What a joke 6 years straight. It all started with cops are stupid comment ahaha ahhhh i didnt say cops are stupid i said cops acted stupidly. Remember hussein is the smartest girl in every room he walks into. Hehehehahahalolololololol

    August 12, 2014 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  6. ficheye

    It's truly sad that there are people who can't come to grips with the fact that the Iraq war was started by Bush lying to congress and others about WMD's and Iraqi nuclear programs, none of which were real. Even Bush lamented this fact. But somehow it's Obama's fault, even though he was following the guidelines laid down by GW himself. But over and over again we read of people trying to distance themselves from the blame that they own part of themselves. Not to mention… why did we even put Iraq in the crosshairs? Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11. No facts have come to light which point to that. It was 'military adventurism' fueled by corporate greed for resources. The terrorists were somewhere else. A huge, HUGE failure on the part of this country. All we did was poke the hornets nest with a stick. But all of the deniers now want to shift the blame to Obama. He was supposed to fix this huge mistake, but the truth is… no one can. We will be paying the price for that war for a hundred years. No amount of juvenile finger pointing will shift the blame from the 43rd president of the United States, George W. Bush.

    August 12, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  7. TheMacbeth

    sonny chapman, You are so clueless it's incredible. Have you ever asked yourself why the Obama administration hasn't bragged about this wonderful "chemical weapons" coup in Syria? In fact they don't talk about it, do they? Why? Just maybe, they were out maneuvered by Syria and Russia and their hoping their mindless followers don't figure-out what really happened?

    August 12, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  8. lysheen

    Sad to see so many folks haven't learned that simply arming groups we want to win doesn't work. We armed and trained the Iraqi military and all those lovely weapons are in the hands of ISIS now. Look how great the Afghan army is doing.

    And let's get off the vacation thing. Obama is still way behind Bush and Reagan, who are the 2 presidents who have taken the most vacations days ever. Seriously, Bush starts 2 wars, and then breaks Reagan's record for most vacation days taken. And Conservatives are complaining about Obama? You folks are nuts.

    August 12, 2014 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  9. Brian

    Obama couldn't find his butt with both hands and a flashlight. And Axle Rod quit blaming Bush like your boy Obama.

    August 12, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. Babyboomer

    Mrs. Clinton needs to stay away for criticizing the POTUS at all cost. She needs his voters and likely his election team to get her back in the White House. David Axelrod isn't someone she wants to tick off...

    August 12, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  11. Bill

    Don't do stupid stuff.......words the Clintons should learn to live by hahahahahahaha

    August 12, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  12. Ariel martinez

    Democrats are falling apart.

    August 12, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. sly

    Republicans watching President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton must feel like their at home on Super Bowl Sunday, watching the real leaders in action.

    How does it feel to sit idly by and do nothing for America for the past 6 years (er, 14 years if you count Bushie)?

    No wonder y'all are always criticizing the President for being black and successful – you have nothing else to do but watch like sore losers.

    Ha ha ha! Future President Clinton – you'll do a great job, and if you do half as well as President Obama you will make history!

    August 12, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  14. logic N LA

    I am a supporter of the President but, recently I have questioned some of the decisions that have been made.
    But then again, I don't have world specialists, top military personnel and others around the world to help form my opinion. Both liberals and conservatives wanted us out of Iraq. Obama had promised we would be out in 2014 long ago.
    Where is the rest of the world or the U.N on this current crisis? Why is it a U.S. issue? But Hilary has a point about the comment- it sounds a bit simplistic.

    August 12, 2014 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  15. Government Waste Rules

    It will be great watching Clinton go at Obama and say all of the things we've all been saying but CNN and the rest of the cowardly left media is too afraid to print.

    August 12, 2014 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  16. sonny chapman

    TheMcbeth- Kerry said the same thing that I said to a Senate Committee just before they assailed him on that Most Pressing National Security Issue-BENGHAZI. Truth is, Obama & Kerry are more interested in OUTCOME than in Show Pony Foreign Policy.

    August 12, 2014 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  17. dnokc

    Thank goodness Mr. Axelrod was there to deflect Ms. Clinton's cheap shots at the president! How unbecoming of her to make derogatory comments while the Commander-N-Chief is busy formulating his golf game, and fund raising strategeory.

    August 12, 2014 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  18. Bill Davis

    If she runs she needs to distance herself, we all seen what happen in Hawaii

    August 12, 2014 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  19. sonny chapman

    PS-TheMcbeth- Did you even KNOW that those chemicals had ALL been destroyed ? Or were you too busy to exhale while spouting Benghazi, Benghazi ?

    August 12, 2014 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  20. Independent_Joe

    Our Sons and Daughters die when people make tragically bad decisions. In a vote between the Dick Cheney values and decision making and the Barack Obama values and decision making, the country and the world are with our president. Just ask Hilary, McCain and Romney. Hilary bumbled this criticism and it was an unforced error. She is trying too hard. Now she has attention on her and she is on defense. The country may be shifting right and hawkish and she is positioning triangulation a few years early. Inauthenticity is a potential leaders enemy.

    August 12, 2014 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  21. Socrates

    Clinton is the female version of senator McCain.

    August 12, 2014 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  22. SteveInMN

    Hey! C'mon!

    She's "likeable enough"!

    August 12, 2014 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC


    @Sonny-Your right, Obama got syria to give up its chemical weapons with out firing a shot. However, some of the same people fighting against Assad are the ones causing chaos in Iraq. ISIS is a much bigger threat than Assad.
    Hindsight really is 20/20, isn't it? Unfortunately, Pres. McCain and VP Graham insisted that we arm the rebels. Pres. Obama is repeatedly on record as saying he was hesitant to start arming rebels because it was hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys a little too often. The original rebels would likely have needed some training because they were mostly farmers, doctors, shopkeepers, and just regular people crying out for justice.

    In other words, you have no solution, no better answer than what the Obama administration did. You're trying to have it both ways, smith. One side of your mouth says that Obama administration is responsible for ISIS because they didn't do enough, but the other side of your mouth preaches non-intervention, just like a libertarian isolationist.

    August 12, 2014 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  24. Bob

    Really? That was best comeback the Obama Administration could come up with?

    August 12, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  25. smith

    @Silence-Liberals, Progressives, and Democrats are not even close to Independents. Democrats, like the GOP have been taken over by zealots who think they know whats best for everyone. The GOP is bound be religon and the Democrats treat people like their children and need to be cared for. "think for themselves" the Democrats think for you. Personally, I like freedom over some bought and paid for political stooge.

    August 12, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
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