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. tess

    garbage throwing garbage – this is going to be fun to watch and see which fool comes out on top!!!!

    August 12, 2014 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  2. willie wonka

    While the real Hillary, please stand up .

    August 12, 2014 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    You distance yourself from this President on anything then you distance yourself from me so i am looking for a different democratic candidate surely not Hillary Democrats better stick together don't be back stabbers
    Co-signed Tone!

    August 12, 2014 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  4. Grow up!

    It looks like Axelrod is grasping frantically at straws! He talks about the right wing warmongers...........? Well David – the right wing couldn't have gone into Iraq in the first place if [1] 87% of DEMOCRATS hadn't supported them and [2] If Bill Clinton hadn't set it up to the nth degree while he was still PRESIDENT!

    And that David is you not getting your facts right and doing "stupid stuff!"

    August 12, 2014 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  5. Loki

    Clinton – Cheney 2016 !
    Go team
    We want more wars !!!

    August 12, 2014 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  6. Montello

    The infants in Washington are at it again.

    August 12, 2014 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  7. gustifer53

    I'm not sure if the Republicans and Tea Bags are ashamed of the stupidity of Bush and Cheney lyin to America and it's politicians about why they wanted to go into Iraq in the first place, or if the sheeple followers of the liars just have amnesia. None of them want to admit this part of history ever took place, but they sure have no problem from the sheeple to the Treasonous Politicians blaming and interfering with Foreign Policy now. Could be because there is a black guy in the White House, or is it the Hate. It can't be anything that would take common sense to figure out. Denial could be a good thing for your souls or else KARMA is a good for your punishment...

    August 12, 2014 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  8. BR

    "Great nations need organizing principles"
    What does that even mean?

    August 12, 2014 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    More and more, Hillary reminds people of Joe Lieberman.

    August 12, 2014 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  10. 1Sonny2

    Barry and Hildebeast this is entertaining

    August 12, 2014 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  11. Gabbo

    Liberals must be so proud to have these idiots leading them.

    August 12, 2014 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  12. itscion

    I'll vote for Hillary. She is just a mod Republican and won't back away from a conflict.

    August 12, 2014 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  13. itscion

    "Don't do stupid stuff" like release Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and watch him become the leader of ISIS? That stupid stuff?

    August 12, 2014 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  14. HM8432

    When Hillary is jumping off the Obama Train screaming, SOMETHING is wrong!

    August 12, 2014 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  15. Donmc0261

    At least Hilary can admit she can make a mistake, Obama needs to learn to do instead of always blaming somebody else.

    At least Hilary voted what she thought was right, and in hindsight she made a mistake and is willing to admit it, unlike Obama, he has never admitted he has made a mistake, it is always somebody else fault not his. As Obama was not a senator at the time of the vote for the invasion of Iraq, he could not vote for it or against it, or did not vote, his most common vote: S 3001 Defense Appropriation Bill Did Not Vote 9/17/08, HR 2642 Iraq and Afghanistan War Funding voted Yea 6/26/08, S Admt 4817 Iraq Provisions Including Troop Withdrawal voted Nay 5/22/08, S Admt 4818 Funding For Operations In Iraq and Afghanistan Did Not Vote. In his senate career he didn't vote more than he voted yea or nay. If he was so against the war in Iraq, Why did he one time vote to fund it and twice didn't vote at all, when he could have voted no to sto funding it,and when it came to removing troops he voted nay.

    August 12, 2014 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  16. Amusing

    Obama groupies vs Hillary groupies. Fun times ahead. Is it worse to be racist by disagreeing with Obama or sexist by disagreeing with Clinton?

    August 12, 2014 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  17. bwestlake

    I admire Hillary but am disappointed if she's trying to in a subtle way start campaigning to distance herself from our President. This sounds like something the republicans do. I am sick and tired of this second guessing on our foreign policy. We go all over the world stirring the pot, throwing $$ and weapons at countries who still live in 1000 BC. We should stop saving the world and start saving Americans. We have needs here to be addressed like poverty, lack of affordable education, putrid water (i.e. Lake Erie), lack of water–Calif– the bread basket of the world, and on and on. Instead of money, and weapons–how about we provide free contraception –all kinds and shower the middle east with plane loads. While we are at it–freebies of the same on every street corner in America. Just ranting I know–but sheesh don't we have enough problems here to take care of.

    August 12, 2014 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  18. IndyMom

    I always vote for the nominee that can best lead this country not by party line, we need to stop attacking each other's party and make sure this country has a leader not a puppet bought by either party! Your vote needs to count, check all information that is written or stated, make sure it is factual not rhetoric. When someone makes a statement that we just wanted to throw it out there and see if it sticks, my distrust of politicians deepens, we want integrity not lies. I'm sick of rhetoric as I hope everyone else is. I consider myself part of the silent majority and a person that believes strongly we need to look within and make sure that this country continues with the values of our forefathers. We need to make sure this is the Government of the People, for the People.

    August 12, 2014 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  19. Chucky Chuck

    "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.

    This sums it up, my folks!

    August 12, 2014 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  20. George Hanks

    Still blaming Bush. Ah, the lefties can do nothing else. 2016 is going to be sweet.

    August 12, 2014 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  21. blakenaustin

    Axelrod. As big a joke as Obama and Hillary. Three big time losers.

    August 12, 2014 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  22. Jim

    Axelrod is 100% correct! We would never have had this problem if we wouldn't have invaded Iraq in 2003. The country was more stable with Hussein in power. The guy was a scum bag but he hated terrorists. We created the monster, which is called ISIS.

    August 12, 2014 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  23. Doug McGill

    Frankly, given the pre-Obama foreign policy history, it is my opinion that "don't do stupid stuff" is absolutely brilliant as a guiding principle for organizing foreign affairs policy.
    Stop saying stupid stuff Hillary!
    Hillary is telling you who she is .... listen to her America !!!

    August 12, 2014 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  24. Redspotz

    This luv-fest is sooooo touching.

    August 12, 2014 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  25. bcrunner

    Some on the right see this as an opportunity to say "see!! the Democrats are fighting too"!! We are not the only ones.. I got news for you! Obama and Clinton are on the same page on foreign policy maybe with some nueances... In the meantime, the tea party is still trying to shred you to pieces. If you had not gerrymandered so many states, right now you you not be in charge of the House and you would not even have a chance of the Senate...

    August 12, 2014 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
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