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. securisinc

    All that money spent on creating a government that ends up no less corrupt than any other government in the region that falls victim to power hungry dictating thieves. Egypt. Libya. Syria. Iran. Lebanon. Unfathomable to think that US foreign policies didn't create the vacuums that lead to these power struggles and religious extremism.

    August 12, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    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
    Well, he has consistently outsmarted the Republicans into overreaching and painting themselves into corners.

    August 12, 2014 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  3. Damon Bowman

    For those that are dying to lay this Iraqi mess at the feet of Bush and/or Obama are completely missing the last thousand years of history in that region. The Sunni and Shia have been battling it out going back to the time of Muhammad. This is nothing new that wasn't going to happen all on its own whether the US was poking around in the neighborhood or not. Anybody who believes they can put these two groups at peace are kidding themselves.

    August 12, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  4. melk1

    Not sure about Axelrod's point here. Once Hillary, like most of the Senate and the House, voted in favor of the Iraq War, she is forever precluded from criticizing Obama again? At least THAT war was taken to a House and Senate vote.

    August 12, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |

    If Clinton wants to win she is going to have to point out the many flaws and inordinate failures of Obama so get used to it. Looking forward to more of her take – should be fun.

    August 12, 2014 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  6. notahistorianbut

    But Damon – Prior to the US takedown of SH, Iraq was the most westernized nation (minus Israel) in the middle east. SH was a secular dictator and there were no terrorist groups in Iraq. He didn't allow it as it would have taken him down. Iraq before the US meddling had co-ed educational opportunities, working utilities, hospitals, mixed marriages between the Sunni and Shia and the US broke it to implement the cheney energy plan. Iraq (and their oil fields) were the cornerstone of the cheney energy plan and now the fields are owned by western companies. To say that they 'have been battling it out going back...' ignores the relative peace and westernization of the country from the days of Reagan (or Bush 41?)

    August 12, 2014 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  7. stubbycatt

    Until people in perpetual conflict rise from their death-centered animal egos and embrace the type of thinking that redeems them instead of destroys them, they will subsist in a miserable stew of their own making. America and her allies try to set the stage for a better society in these troubled regions and help the people caught up in tragedies but there is only so much that can be done. And I say thank you fro the bottom of my heart to all those who try to make it better anywhere in the world.

    August 12, 2014 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  8. ItSoNlYmE

    This is the kind of stupid stuff the other side does. We're better than this Mr. Axelrod. The President (and you) should have NOTHING to say publicly about anyone who is, or who might be running for President in 2016. Grow up.

    August 12, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  9. Kelvin R

    She wants the presidency too much and will say anything if she thinks it will help. She isn't the best candidate for first woman POTUS anyway. Go Elizabeth Warren!

    August 12, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  10. hussein ovomit

    Oh my gosh. Hillary calls obama from the hamptons to appologize to obama in the hamptons. These are the two who say there for the poorman. Remember them bashing romney for being rich. Unbelievable the people that actually believe these two idiot liars caught in lie after lie. BUT HEY WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE AT THIS POINT

    August 12, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  11. Ivanhoe

    For more insight read the novels -
    king of Bat'ha by Hashim
    Tales from the East by Ivanhoe
    both give information based on direct experiences in Middle East

    August 12, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  12. Repanimus

    THE RNC is accusing Clinton of playing politics with the current situation in Iraq. My God, they do live in an alternative universe. What the hell was the Arizonian geezer doing this weekend and every weekend on the talk shows?

    August 12, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  13. sezyou

    Hillary? Palin? whats the difference?

    August 12, 2014 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  14. Michael W

    "The recent tension between Clinton and Obama's team invokes memories of their 2008 battle .." – No. It doesn't "invoke" memories, it "evokes" memories.

    August 12, 2014 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  15. hussein ovomit

    You know the saddest part is if the looser liar liberal media would of just done there jobs as journalist and didnt show there true colors as total biased liberal liars and let obama win on his own and due his job and get treated same as every other president in history. This entire presidency may have turned out not to bad. I actually liked obama before he was elected and i actually wanted hillary in 2008 but the lieng liberal destroyed the democrats and now im 100% republican and know now that bush, cheney and rumsfeld are true american heros and would destroy isis

    August 12, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Silence DoGood

    This MSM non-story of Dem in-fighting is just to attempt to balance the obvious angry, nasty GOP on GOP and GOP on TP conflicts
    Unfortunately usually level-heads are picking this up and running with it....straight into a wall.

    August 12, 2014 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  17. sly

    Hillary? Palin? whats the difference?
    Yes – all women are alike, all are inferior, none of them have any brains or opinions, that's why 'sezyou' only dates men.

    According to 'sezyou', all blacks, asians and hispanics are also identical, so he only dates black men.

    Gosh, there certainly are some really ignorant people in America!

    August 12, 2014 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  18. Rwehiyet

    She's busy getting in front of as many cameras as possible while she "considers" a run for the big house.

    August 12, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  19. smith

    @Rudy-The GOP was wrong and the Dems were wrong with regards to Syria. The US should have never given any aid period to the Anti-Assad forces. The UN could have handled the chemical weapons issue and Assad would have defeated the ISIS. Just because you don`t pick the GOP plan or the Dem plan doen`t mean you wanna have it both ways. It means you think both are wrong.

    August 12, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  20. Mike Johnson

    The ignorance of conservatives is now expected because ignorant and ill mannered behavior defines conservatives and who conservatives are. "OBAMA – THE OPEN BORDERS PRESIDENT" Why are over 52,000 people being detained. It
    's apparent conservatives are not capable of thinking. This conservative is too uneducated to capitalize, in English. Looking ignorant as become how conservatives prove they are conservatives.

    August 12, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  21. Silence DoGood

    If Clinton wants to win she is going to have to point out the many flaws and inordinate failures of Obama so get used to it. Looking forward to more of her take – should be fun.
    Why? It may have escaped your right wing club house view, but Obama is not running for President! I am hoping that Clinton, Warren or whomever will build on Obama's start and move us Progressively into the future. The latest right wing myth of battlin' Dems is getting old.

    August 12, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  22. Anonymous


    Hillary? Palin? whats the difference?


    Hillary has a functioning brain for starters.

    August 12, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  23. Chris Metzger

    She has a bit of a political and intelligence problem. Criticizing an unpopular president/leader of her party? Little guts and even less wisdom. And also not very astute by biting the political hand that gave her the only real job in leadership that she ever had. Well, unless she ran Bill (hardly). (And carpet bagging a senate seat does not equal leadership.)

    August 12, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  24. readerpan

    Mrs Clinton either made a cynical political choice to do what she thought best for her career or she wasn't smart enough to realize how stupid it was to authorize war in Iraq. In either case she doesn't deserve consideration for the presidency of the US.

    August 12, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  25. ditdahdit

    After years of placating the corrupt power-brokers of New York politics Hilly is just another AIPAC stooge.

    August 12, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
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