White House senior strategist David Axelrod defended President Obama on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Tuesday, taking host Joe Scarborough to task for his criticism of the president.
Axelrod took issue with two of the TV host’s claims: that President Obama was unprepared to take office, and that Obama has been unable to work with Congress.
“I saw him make a lot of decisions that were very courageous,” Axelrod said of the president.
“We walked into the worst economy and biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression,” as well as two wars, Axelrod said. He praised the way Obama worked to stabilize the financial system and the auto industry, and noted that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was killed on Obama’s watch.
“So when you say he wasn't prepared, maybe you should go ask Osama bin Laden if he thought he was,” Axelrod told Scarborough.
Axelrod argued that congressional Republicans, not the president, are responsible for the stalemate in Washington. Republican lawmakers “basically think cooperation is a dirty word, that cooperating with the president is an unpardonable sin,” he said.
Obama has been making a public pitch for his American Jobs Act because “the only people who are going to move these Republicans are the American people,” he said.
Axelrod acknowledged that the presidential race will be a close one.
“With all the wind at our back the last time, 47 percent of the American people voted for someone else,” he said, adding that "this has been a tough three years for the country.”
At the end of the day, “it’s not just going to be about the president; it’s going to be about two candidates”—their visions, records, and plan for rebuilding the economy, Axelrod said.
Axelrod also made a sly dig at the Republican presidential field. “If I were sitting over there I’d say, 'why am I always at 23, 25 percent?'" he said. A CNN/ORC International Poll released on Monday shows Mitt Romney narrowly leading the Republican field with 26 percent of the vote.