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Entries in David Axelrod (38)

Friday
Nov022012

Axelrod: Obama’s Closing Argument ‘Coming from His Loins’

ABC/ DONNA SVENNEVIK(LIMA, Ohio) -- With four days to go until the election, President Obama has never been more fired up, according to senior campaign strategist David Axelrod.

“I’ve known him for 20 years… I’ve never seen him more exhilarated than he is right now,” he told reporters traveling with the president in Ohio Friday. “He believes in what he’s doing. He believes in what he’s fighting for.”

“You can see in the speech he’s delivering… that this is coming from his loins,” he said, adding, “I just wanted to say ‘loins.’ I wanted to see if I could get ‘loins’ in the story.”

(He’s succeeded.)

The president spent the day laying out his closing argument at three stops in this key battleground state, where he is leading in most polls. “We always said this was going to be a close state,” Axelrod said. “Virtually every poll we’ve seen in the last week shows the president in the lead. So we anticipate it’s going to be a hard-fought close race, but we’re going to win that race.”

The Obama campaign feels the president’s position in the Buckeye State has been strengthened by GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s misleading ads that suggest automakers GM and Chrysler could be moving jobs out of Ohio to China.

“I think that they have created a huge gulf of trust with the voters of Ohio,” Axelrod said.

“It’s been a disaster for them this week,” senior advisor David Plouffe said. “To have this atmospheric [sic] in the close in Ohio as those few remaining undecideds are making their decision, this ad, the auto industry issue again being the paramount issue in Ohio, we think [Romney's] Election Day job just got appreciably more difficult.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Oct142012

Obama Will Be More ‘Aggressive’ in Second Debate, Axelrod Says

(NEW YORK) -- After his lackluster performance at the first presidential debate, President Obama is making some “adjustments” and will be more “aggressive” in his second face-off with Republican nominee Mitt Romney, senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod said Sunday.

“Nobody’s a harsher critic than the president is of himself and he viewed the [debate] tape,” Axelrod said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I think he’s going to make some adjustments on Tuesday.”

Axelrod would not detail any strategic changes that the president might be making, but said he’s “going to be aggressive in making the case for his view of where we should go as a country.”

Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” senior Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs said the president was “disappointed” in his performance in Denver.

“He didn’t meet his own expectations,” he said. “He knew when he walked off that stage, and he also knew as he’s watched the tape of that debate, that he’s got to be more energetic. I think you’ll see somebody who is very passionate about the choice that our country faces, and putting that choice in front of voters.”

Expect the president to continue to attack Romney for his changing positions. In the two weeks since the first debate, the president’s campaign has tried to cast the GOP nominee as an extreme conservative trying to reinvent himself as a moderate in the run-up to the election.

Gibbs described Romney’s performance at the first debate as “magical and theatrical” because “for 90 minutes he walked away from a campaign he’d been running for more than six years previous to that.”

“We saw Governor Romney, sort of, serially walk away from his own proposals and certainly the president is going to be willing to challenge him on it as we saw the vice president challenge Paul Ryan,” Axelrod said.

The president is spending the three days leading up to the debate hunkered down with his advisers in Williamsburg, Va., where he is practicing and studying at a luxury resort.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Aug122012

David Axelrod: Paul Ryan Pick Meant to ‘Thrill the Most Strident Voices’ in GOP

ABC News Radio(NEW YORK) -- “Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod claimed that Mitt Romney’s choice of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to join him on the GOP presidential ticket was meant to “thrill the most strident voices” in the GOP, and said Ryan’s selection should “trouble” the middle class.

“He (Ryan) is a right-wing ideologue, the intellectual energy behind the Republican caucus there in Congress,” said Sunday morning on “This Week.” “He constructed a budget that, like Romney, would lavish trillions of dollars of tax cuts, most of them on the wealthy, would raise the burden on the middle class, would cut back things deeply like student loans, and research and development, and things we need to grow the economy.”

Axelrod called Ryan “outside the mainstream,” adding that the new Republican ticket will give voters a stark choice on Election Day.

“It is a pick that is meant to thrill the most strident voices in the Republican Party, but it’s one that should trouble everybody else, the middle class, seniors, students, because of Ryan’s record,” Axelrod said. “He is outside the mainstream, but he — this was a defining choice for Mitt Romney, and now it’s also a clarifying choice for the American people.”

Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, appearing on “This Week” following Axelrod, called Ryan a “terrific pick,” and told me he was not disappointed about not being selected himself as Romney’s running mate.

Pawlenty was on the short list of top vice presidential contenders this summer, as well as in 2008 when Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., selected former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.

“You know, I’m excited for the ticket. I’m excited for Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan,” Pawlenty said. “I didn’t support Governor Romney because I expected to be vice president, so I’m not disappointed. I didn’t get something I didn’t expect.”

“But it’s a great ticket, it’s a terrific pick by Governor Romney, and Congressman Ryan, as you’ve already seen, is bringing energy to the ticket, and he’s got a clear, specific vision, an adult approach to solving the nation’s problems, and you don’t see that from the president and his team,” Pawlenty added.

Axelrod went on to say that both Romney and Ryan “do not believe” in Medicare and went after Ryan for his controversial budget plan that would cut federal spending significantly.

“He’s the guy who’s the architect of a plan to end Medicare as we know it and turn it into a voucher program and ship thousands of dollars of costs onto senior citizens,” Axelrod said. “He’s someone who was the architect of a Social Security privatization scheme that was so out there that even George Bush called it irresponsible, and he believes that we should ban abortion even in cases of rape and incest.”

Pawlenty, rebutting Axelrod, praised Ryan for offering up a specific proposal for addressing the fiscal issues facing the United States.

“I think the American people are smart, and I think the American people respect people who have real solutions to big problems,” Pawlenty said. “And so Congressman Ryan and Governor Romney have put together a plan that actually tackles the problem in specific, preserves Medicare and other programs for people who are already on the program, but begins to change it in needed and realistic ways for the next generation. And it’s a big debate, it’s an important debate, but unlike the president, they are actually willing to lead.”

Ryan is the author of the “Path to Prosperity” budget plan that would, among other things, significantly cut federal spending and reform Medicare. Being associated with Ryan’s budget plan could prove politically risky for Romney in election swing states like Florida that have a large number of elderly voters.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul052012

Axelrod to ABC News: Romney 'Most Secretive Candidate' Since Nixon

ABC/ DONNA SVENNEVIK(MAUMEE, Ohio) -- Senior Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod today accused Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney of being “the most secretive candidate that we’ve seen, frankly, since Richard Nixon.”

He “won’t release his tax returns, won’t reveal his bundlers, left Massachusetts with the hard drives from his computer. He believes in keeping the public in the dark,” Axelrod said in an interview with ABC News Radio behind the scenes at the first stop on Obama’s campaign bus tour through Ohio.

Axelrod said Romney’s portfolio of offshore investments -- which include a Bermuda-based company, funds in the Cayman Islands and a Swiss bank account -- raises what he called a “Bermuda Triangle” of financial questions.

“Just what were the benefits there? Did he actually pay taxes in some years? We don’t know,” he said.

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“Why would you transfer your Bermuda business…to your wife the day before you became governor? Why did you not want that on your disclosure form?” he questioned later, referring to media reports that have scrutinized the holding.

Asked directly whether he is accusing Romney of tax cheating, Axelrod said no.

“The only reason to have these accounts is to shelter your taxes,” he said. “The question is, exactly what did he pay, and I think that he -- there’s only one way to answer that question: if you don’t have anything to hide why not just release that information? And Gov. Romney really doesn’t have a good answer for that.”

In January, Romney released his 2010 tax return amid intense public scrutiny and pressure from his GOP primary rivals. He has declined to release returns from additional years.

The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul052012

David Axelrod Tweets Hit Romney for ‘Bermuda Tax Shelter’

Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Senior Obama strategist David Axelrod on Wednesday offered something of a fireworks display on Twitter, launching a barrage of messages meant to draw attention to two reports that highlight Mitt Romney’s stake in a Bermuda company that has never been listed on his state or federal financial reports.

@DavidAxelrod: Astonishing story about Mitt’s Bermuda tax shelter and his efforts to keep it secret, apparently skirting MA law. 1/4

@DavidAxelrod: A Swiss bank account. A dozen funds in the Cayman Islands. And now, a Bermuda tax shelter he failed to report. 2/4

@DavidAxelrod: How many of these revelations will it take for the media to demand a full accounting of Mitt’s tax returns and finances? 3/4

@DavidAxelrod: Or will his campaign continue to stonewall and keep him secure within the MPP–the Mittness Protection Program? 4/4

The company in question -- Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors Ltd. -- is described by government financial documents as “a Bermuda corporation wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney.”  Yet, as Vanity Fair notes in a new report, it has never appeared on the candidate’s financial disclosure forms.  Limited details on its existence only recently came to light when Romney released his 2010 tax return under public pressure.

“Even after examining that return, we have no idea what is in this company, but it could be valuable, meaning that it is possible Romney’s wealth is even greater than previous estimates,” writes Nicholas Shaxson in Vanity Fair.  “While the Romneys’ spokespeople insist that the couple has paid all the taxes required by law, investments in tax havens such as Bermuda raise many questions, because they are in ‘jurisdictions where there is virtually no tax and virtually no compliance,’ as one Miami-based offshore lawyer put it.”

Democrats say Romney’s secretive financial holdings raise questions about his intentions and potential conflicts of interest.  They say the Bermuda company -- along with a Swiss bank account, Cayman Islands accounts, and other foreign funds, Romney has had ties to -- suggest that Romney is “betting against America.”  It’s a theme President Obama will push during his two-day, two-state bus tour which kicks off Thursday in Ohio.

In a statement to ABC News, Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg called Axelrod’s tweets part of a pattern of allegations that “have been proven false time and again.”

“As job growth slows, manufacturing activity stalls, and our economy continues to sputter, President Obama knows he can’t make a legitimate argument for another term in office, so instead he is trying to tear down his opponent,” she said.  “This is just the latest example of President Obama and his political machine saying or doing anything to distract from his abysmal record over the last four years.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun182012

David Axelrod Says Heckling Is a GOP Sport

Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images(TROY, Ohio) -- President Obama’s senior campaign strategist David Axelrod condemned the protesters who showed up at two of Mitt Romney’s campaign events in Ohio on Sunday while taking a dig at the GOP candidate, noting that the behavior is “their tactic, not ours.”

Axelrod wrote on Twitter, “I strongly condemn heckling along Mitt’s route. Shouting folks down is their tactic, not ours. Let voters hear BOTH candidates & decide.”

Axelrod was referring to an incident last month in which he traveled to Boston to hold a press conference challenging Romney’s record as governor of Massachusetts.

Members from the Romney campaign and supporters showed up at the press conference, at times drowning out Axelrod.

Similarly, anti-Romney supporters showed up at two of the candidate’s events along his bus tour on Sunday.  The groups -- each of about 25 people -- shouted “we are the 99 percent,” and shouted at Romney to “go home.”  While Romney didn’t pay attention to the protesters, his wife Ann did, referring to them as “distractors.”

“We can be just as loud about how much we love this country,” she said at a rally in Newark, Ohio.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jun102012

David Axelrod Insists Classified Leaks Not From White House

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod insisted he is confident that newly launched investigations will show that recent leaks on classified national security information did not come from the White House.

“I think the authors of all of this work have said that the White House was not the source of this information,” Axelrod said on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday morning. “I can’t say that there weren’t leaks. There were obvious leaks, but they weren’t from the White House.”

Axelrod said Obama takes all “life or death decisions” on national security seriously, and that the White House would not leak information that may jeopardize classified operations.

“He understands that when he commits people to missions that their lives are at stake, and the safety of Americans are at stake,” Axelrod said. “And the last thing that he would countenance or anybody around him would countenance are leaks that would jeopardize the security of Americans on these secret missions, and the success of those missions.”

Both Republicans and Democrats have accused the White House of releasing details of various secret operations, including the effort to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program, for political purposes in order to bolster President Obama’s national security credentials before the election.

President Obama disputed that charge Friday at a White House press conference, saying, “The notion that my White House would purposefully release classified national security information is offensive. It’s wrong.”

Attorney General Eric Holder said Friday that two federal prosecutors would lead investigations into the leaks to news outlets, including The New York Times.

When “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos asked if he was confident the investigations would not show White House involvement, Axelrod said “Yes,” citing the administration’s history of cracking down on leaks.

“We have come under attack because we have been tougher on leaks than any administration in recent history and we have been criticized for that,” Axelrod said. “We want to make sure that the people we assign to these very difficult tasks are safe, or as safe as they can be.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jun032012

Axelrod Denies Participating in Anti-Terror Discussions

Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The communications director of President Obama’s reelection campaign today denied a report in the New York Times that he had sat in on weekly White House meetings on terrorism.

On Tuesday the paper said that after the failed 2009 Christmas Day “underwear bombing,” David Axelrod started attending the discussions with Obama and top national security advisers.

The article reads:

 “David Axelrod, the president’s closest political adviser, began showing up at the ‘Terror Tuesday’ meetings, his unspeaking presence a visible reminder of what everyone understood: a successful attack would overwhelm the president’s other aspirations and achievements.”

Today on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Axelrod steadfastly denied the claim, telling host Bob Schieffer that he was “flat out asserting that that is not true.”

“There were meetings,” he said. “I know there were weekly meetings dealing with terrorist threats and planning around it, but I did not attend those meetings.”

At the time of the attempted attack, Axelrod was serving as the top political adviser inside the administration. Some conservatives had said the report appeared to be evidence that the White House was actively merging national security issues and partisan politics.

Schieffer noted House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., had voiced similar concerns.

“Let me allay his concerns, Bob, because that’s not true,” Axelrod said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May312012

Axelrod Nearly Drowned Out by Romney Protesters in Boston

Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- When senior Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod held a press conference on Mitt Romney’s home turf of Boston Thursday morning, the anti-Obama reception was so loud and rowdy that his message was nearly drowned out.
 
Axelrod stood behind a podium at the foot of the steps to the Massachusetts State House, flanked by Democratic state officials and a few dozen Obama supporters lining the steps behind. His audience: a small bank of TV cameras and dozens of young, pro-Romney activists screaming and shouting just 15 feet away.
 
The Republican crowd held signs that read “Obama Isn’t Working,” “Broken Promises,” “Axelrod is in Fantasyland.”  They chanted “We want Mitt,” “Where are the jobs?” and “Solyndra, Solyndra, Solyndra.”   The noise was so loud that it was difficult to make out what many of the speakers ahead of Axelrod were saying.
 
“This reminds me of the time that Eric Fehrnstrom tried to take me down,” said John Barrett, former mayor of North Adams, Ma., of the demonstration.  “He didn’t take me down then, he’s not going to take us down now.” (Fehrnstrom is Romney’s communications director.)
 
Axelrod, who staged the event as a kick-off for the campaign’s new assault on Romney’s record as governor, seemed visibly distracted as he tried to make his case.
 
"It is great to be in Massachusetts, Obama country," Axelrod said at the top of his remarks. "I get tweets from some of these folks so I feel close to them. You can shout down speakers my friends but it is hard to Etch-a-Sketch the truth away."
 
He then moved through talking points the campaign has highlighted in a new research memo and Web video, that Romney failed to keep his gubernatorial campaign promises on the economy, jobs, size of government and debt and would not follow through on the same in the White House.
 
“If that sounds familiar to you, it’s because the people of Massachusetts have heard it all before,” he said.  “The same promises, the same representations, the very same language. Interestingly, when Gov. Romney rolled out his candidacy just a few miles away in [New Hampshire] a few weeks ago after he clinched the nomination, he spoke for 15 or 20 minutes and never found the time to mention that he once had been the governor of Massachusetts, the one elective office he ever held. And there’s good reason for that."
 
“The Massachusetts record was alarmingly weak,” he said.
 
Axelrod tried to take questions from reporters, who had to crouch down and shout so he could hear.  Protesters chanted “Where are the jobs?” over and over.
 
“You can’t handle the truth my friends. That’s the problem. If you could handle the truth, you’d quiet down,” Axelrod said.
 
Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith shrugged off the debacle and said the campaign has plenty of time to have their message break through.
 
“This is the first time that anyone has gone out and given a full synopsis of what he did in Massachusetts, and we have five months to go in this campaign,” she said. “This is just the introduction of it. Clearly they resorted to some juvenile and circus-like tactics Thursday to try to drown it out but they can’t drown it out for five straight months.”
 
During a press conference of his own outside Solyndra, Inc., in Freemont, Calif., Mitt Romney said he wouldn’t apologize for the hecklers at Axelrod’s event, claiming Democrats have infiltrated some of his.
 
Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said the governor’s statement “invents a mythic event in which our campaign ‘heckled’ him.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
May072012

Obama Campaign Launching New Advertising Campaign This Week

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama’s senior campaign adviser David Axelrod said Sunday morning on ABC's This Week that the Obama campaign would unveil this week an advertising campaign focused on the president’s accomplishments.

“You’ll see us unveil an advertising campaign, an extensive advertising campaign, that is very much about where we were and where we’ve come and the things that we’ve accomplished, the revitalization of the auto industry, the distance we’ve traveled from when we were losing 800,000 jobs a month, the fact that we’re safer today because bin Laden is gone, that the war in Iraq is over, and -- and many other things that we’re proud of and that speak to the progress that we’ve made since this president was elected,” said Axelrod.

Axelrod made the announcement after he was asked when the campaign would start running advertisements about the president’s record as opposed to the attack advertisements that have dominated the news as of late.

“We’re certainly running on our record,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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