The latest National Journal magazine includes a Q & A with David Axelrod, President Obama's senior strategist, a counterpoint to our Q & A in May with Stuart Stevens, a top Mitt Romney adviser. Here's an excerpt of the Axelrod interview that got left on the cutting room floor of the magazine for space reasons.
NJ How much do you worry about the lag in funding for the Democratic convention and the conspicuous number of Democratic no-shows?
AXELROD The only reason that there is a focus on the Democrats who aren't attending is because there's a focused effort by the right to highlight that. There are also a bunch of Republicans who said they won't be attending the convention. That's fairly normal in an election year...We'll have the resources we need for the convention...The question when we leave Charlotte is whether there has been a clear, resonant message from those three days, and I'm absolutely confident that will be the case.
NJ The Obama campaign is running a television ad that says Gov. Romney opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest. The Romney campaign says that isn't true.
AXELROD We can defend that ad. He has supported language in the past dating back to 2007 and platform language that had no exceptions in it. Gov. Romney can produce a quote for any occasion. I guess that's the value of being mercurial in the positions that you take. The fact is he has endorsed in the past proposals that would have not have exemptions, and if he's saying he wants to walk away from that, then he should explain it.
NJ Is there anything that I haven't asked you that you think is worth mentioning?
AXELROD If you look at trends over the last several years, particularly the last 10 years, there are forces that conspired against the middle class and the great virtue of our economy, which is that if you work hard you can get ahead. There are things we need to do to as a country, whether it's better schools or greater access to higher education or the kinds of investments that yield innovation and high-end jobs, things we need to do reverse that trend, and I don't think the others guys see that. The notion that we can cut our way to prosperity, that everything will take care of itself -- that will work for the people doing well but not for the rest of the country. No one is going to benefit if we have a shrinking middle class.