Axelrod: Republican Presidential wannabes can’t cut it

David Axelrod

President Barack Obama‘s chief campaign strategist is dismissive of the Republicans who want his boss’ job, saying they are eager to criticize the Democratic incumbent without offering substantive ways to help the country.

David Axelrod says it’s too early to start sizing up the competition, but he took on the emerging field of candidates when asked to assess the GOP’s first major debate of the campaign season last Monday in New Hampshire. Republicans at that forum condemned Obama’s handling of the economy and pledged to repeal his health care overhaul.

“There seemed to be a unanimity of antipathy toward the president,” said Axelrod, who left the White House this year to return to Chicago to work on the re-election campaign. “I didn’t hear a lot of ideas,” but rather “a lot of pat partisan platitudes,” he told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Axelrod seemed intent on going after former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the perceived front-runner, and citing the support that former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, a Republican who was Obama’s ambassador to China, had given the president.

Romney, who sought his party’s presidential nomination in 2008, already faces questions from his rivals about his record of changing positions on social issues including abortion and gay rights, shifts that have left conservatives questioning his sincerity. In addition, Romney championed a health care law enacted in Massachusetts that’s similar to Obama’s national health overhaul, which conservatives loathe.

“It’s not unusual in politics for people who are ambitious to change their points of views on fundamental things to try and win an election,” Axelrod said in the broadcast interview. “But that’s not what people want in the president of the United States.”

By contrast, he said, Obama is “one of the most consistent people that I’ve ever met.”

Huntsman’s moderate stances on some issues and his service in the Obama administration could hurt him with the Republican Party’s right-leaning base.

Axelrod said that when he was in China in the fall of 2009, he had a chance to talk with Huntsman. “He was very effusive about what the president was doing. He was encouraging on health care. He was encouraging on the whole range of issues. He was a little quizzical about what was going on in his own party. And you got the strong sense that he was going to wait until 2016 for the storm to blow over.”

Axelrod said that “obviously circumstances change. So I was surprised when he emerged as a candidate. But certainly I take him seriously.”

Later Sunday, Huntsman spokesman Tim Miller responded: “Axelrod’s comments are absurd. Gov. Huntsman’s record on health care and the economy (was) the opposite of President Obama’s top-heavy, government-centric, failed approach. That is the record he will run on.”

Assessing the GOP debate, Axelrod said Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, “who was relatively unknown, probably did herself some good there.”

He noted that some politicians who weren’t yet candidates may join the race. “That will add to the fun,” he said.

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press

 

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4 Responses to "Axelrod: Republican Presidential wannabes can’t cut it"

  1. freecitizen  June 20, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    “It’s not unusual in politics for people who are ambitious to change their points of views on fundamental things to try and win an election,” Axelrod said in the broadcast interview.

    Oh! You are referring to the current hypocrite and liar which you helped elect?
    The proper phrasing should have been: “It’s standard practice in politics for people who are selfishly ambitious to con and outright lie to the public about what they really believe in, if anything except their own funda-mental belief that there personal ambitions and self-importance outway the good of a nation and should be elected anyway they can!”

    Truth on behalf of power to an electorate who’s mind is dulled to this truth!

  2. Carl Nemo  June 20, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    The bottomline is ‘handlers’ like Axelrod are into marketing a ‘product’. As we all know there’s both good and bad products in the open marketplace.

    Unfortunately in this case we are talking about people that will be elevated to our highest office, results be damned as in Obama’s case, G.W. Bush, Clinton, or even Mr. ‘single term’ H.W. Bush. Since the early nineties we’ve been saddled with some genuine ‘pigs in a poke’. Some folks would go back far enough to include every president since Ike or possibly JFK and I would concur.

    Our choice of Congresscritters hasn’t fared well either, it too having simply degenerated into an old ‘sovietski ‘ style hand-clapping politburo.

    America has been commandeered by evil forces since the end of WWII and seemingly within 60 years, this stream of corporatist friendly, traitorous disposed pawns have managed to destroy the Republic.

    Carl Nemo **==

    • woody188  June 20, 2011 at 5:51 pm

      At least every President since the Vietnam conflict. There are administrations before that, like Woodrow Wilson’s that showed clear contempt for the Constitution. It’s not hard to follow the money from most of the “modern” conflicts the United States was involved in since World War I to see just who is pulling the strings.

  3. Sailcat  June 20, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    “There seemed to be a unanimity of antipathy toward the president,”

    well duh.

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