Edwards Rips Axelrod

If you are wondering how this story is shaping up, John Edwards now gets his licks in on the Obama campaign:

In a wide-ranging, free-wheeling interview with Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards with ABC News Friday afternoon, the former North Carolina senator labeled "ridiculous" comments made by the Obama campaign that seemed to link former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination to Sen. Hillary Clinton's vote to authorize the use of force against Iraq . . .

Will Obama keep this story alive for a few more days to save Axelrod's pride? At this point, Axelrod MUST know he may potentially wear the goat's horns if Obama loses Iowa. And rightly so.

< Steve Clemons: Is Axelrod Nuts? | Obama At Odds With His FP Team >
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    Potential Disaster for Obama (none / 0) (#1)
    by BDB on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 06:16:53 PM EST
    I said in the other thread that this has the potential to be a disaster for Obama.  Here's the part of Edwards quote that makes me believe the other candidates sense the potential damage to Obama from this, emphasis mine
    I think in times of international crisis -- which this clearly is -- what America needs to be doing and serious presidential candidates need to be doing is providing an atmosphere of strength and calm.

    Obama should've dismissed and not defended the Axelrod comments on Blitzer.  This entire thing would be over.  But for whatever reason he didn't.  So now he's facing a triple hit:

    1. it distracts from his closing message and puts him on the defensive right before voting starts;
    2. it undercuts his strength, that he's not just another politician, by making it appear he's playing politics with an international crisis brought on by an assassination; and
    3. it simultaneously hits him where he's weakest by making him look inexperienced - he comes across as crass rather than statesman-like while at the same time sounding like he doesn't know what he's talking about regarding Pakistan history and politics.

    Now Obama is stuck with it for at least the rest of this news cycle, including the Sunday shows.  And because he seemed to defend Axelrod instead of distancing himself from it, it spreads beyond his campaign people to him.  

    It is stupid beyond belief.  Or arrogant.  Did Axelrod really believe that he could get away with this and the anti-Clinton MSM wouldn't call him on it?   Either way, the other campaigns have to be thrilled at this self-inflicted damage.  Which may bring up a fourth problem for Obama - will it raise fears that his campaign isn't ready for prime time?  That he's not up fighting the GOP in the general?


    Obama should be finished now---and rightly so (none / 0) (#2)
    by MarkL on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 06:38:02 PM EST
    He is unable to admit mistakes---he's just as bad as Bush in that way.
    He could have distanced himself from Axelrod's remarks, but instead he chose to own them.
    This is his "Scream", and it's just in time for Iowa.

    There is a very deep (1.00 / 1) (#14)
    by RalphB on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 11:11:29 PM EST
    insecurity in this inability to admit mistakes.  For months now, I've believed that Obama was essentially Bush with a better tan and vocabulary.

    A better tan? (none / 0) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Dec 29, 2007 at 09:32:32 AM EST

    Yawn (none / 0) (#3)
    by joejoejoe on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 06:39:42 PM EST
    The same LATimes poll that you cite to show Obama fading shows National Security (there is no terrorism listing) is most important with 7% of Dems compared to 43% of Dems thinking Iraq is most important. Yet somehow it's all Axelrod all the time for two of the 7 days prior to the election.

    If Axelrod's comments linking Pakistani instability to Iraq turn off 75% of "national security" voters and remind 60% of the Iraq voters that HRC voted for Iraq it's a net winner of votes for the Obama campaign.

    It's ghoulish to talk about things this way and I don't think Axelrod was making that kind of calculus but look at the pools of issue voters.

    Since Obama opponents are only keeping this story front and center because they are so offended and most certainly not out of political self interest I'll just offer up as free advice to the general public that if you are planning on keeping this story alive to benefit a candidate not named Obama you should check your math.

    PS - Edwards voted for the Iraq War too. Saying he was wrong to do so doesn't make the consequences of his vote go away.

    More National Security Voters (none / 0) (#5)
    by BDB on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 06:47:10 PM EST
    The problem for Obama is two-fold.  

    First, that events like the Bhutto assassination turn more voters into national security voters because instability scares them and Obama doesn't necessarily do as well with these voters.  

    Second, even if national security isn't a voter's primary concern, I suspect few Democrats want to vote for someone they think is going to screw it up.  In fact, I'd argue that's why national security is so far down the list - Democrats rightly think all of the candidates would be a big improvement over the current folks and trust them all to handle foreign affairs.  

    I honestly don't think most Dems see that big a difference between the candidates' foreign policies.  They've all said they'd end the war, they all say they'd favor diplomacy.  There aren't specific policy papers to the extent there are for energy and healthcare.  To the extent this makes Obama different - weaker - than Edwards and Clinton that hurts him.

    Which is why this entire thing is stupid and I can't believe his campaign didn't immediately put an end to it.


    I don't accept the premise (none / 0) (#6)
    by joejoejoe on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 07:03:43 PM EST
    Axelrod inartfully refuted the premise of a reporters question that the events in Pakistan helps Sen. Clinton. To read BTD and Steve Clemens you'd think Axelrod said Hillary Clinton was a suicide bomber. That never happened and I'm not going to procede down a road where people are stipulating that it did happen. IT NEVER HAPPENED.

    Q) Is the US policy in a shambles in Pakistan in part because of our decision to wage war in Iraq with all of the commensurate costs?

    If you answer 'Yes' then I don't see how it's reasonable to NOT link those who voted for the AUMF/Iraq with the indirect consequences of their actions.

    If you answer 'No' then you live in a world with limitless US resources that require no hard choices.

    Consequences matter. Reagan was holding press conferences calling the Taliban 'freedom fighters'. A decade later the same people were blowing up the USS Cole. Hindsight is 20/20 but it's been 6 years since the AUMF/Iraq and we're reaping some of the fruit of that vote. Why is it out of bounds to discuss this topic?

    Juan Cole:

    The Bush administration backed military dictator Musharraf to the hilt as a way of dealing with U.S. security and al-Qaida on the cheap while it poured hundreds of billions into Baghdad.

    Sens. Edwards and Clinton voted for the AUMF/Iraq in a dangerous world with finite resources. The consequences of a Pakistan policy "on the cheap" belong to all who supported the Iraq War.


    Inartfully? (none / 0) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 07:19:13 PM EST
    Oh please Joe.

    Enoguh. Seriously, ENOUGH.


    Obama Talking Points (none / 0) (#12)
    by BDB on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 09:34:06 PM EST
    That does seem to be Obama's new spin, that Axelrod was pushing back against the Clinton campaign.  Via CNN

    "The Clinton campaign started pushing this notion, immediately after this happened, that somehow this was going to advantage their campaign, and one of my campaign aides responded," Obama told CNN's Jessica Yellin. "But I think what the American people are concerned about right now is not how it impacts the vote in Iowa, they're concerned how it's going to impact the long term national security of the United States of America, and that's what we have to stay focused on."

    Now, even if it's true the Clinton campaign was pushing this storyline, which I haven't seen any evidence of, but political operatives are political operatives so it's certainly possible, I don't see why that required blaming Clinton for causing the assassination.  He could've just said something like "in times like these, we want someone with good judgement and Obama has that."  He didn't have to try to use it to go negative on Clinton, he could've simply made a statement in Obama's favor.  That's what Bayh did, dumb as I thought it was, but at least it was dumb and offensive.  


    Whoops (none / 0) (#13)
    by BDB on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 09:35:13 PM EST
    Should've said at least Bayh's statement wasn't dumb and offensive.  His was just dumb.  Axelrod's was both.

    Poor Joe (none / 0) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 07:18:39 PM EST
    Here's how to end it. Disavow what Axelrod AND Rice said. Stop the offensive attacks.

    Have you NOT a word of reporach for what the Obama campaign has done? Of course not Joe.

    You are in thrall to primary fever.


    Obama's MO (none / 0) (#9)
    by andgarden on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 07:24:34 PM EST
    never admit, never apologize.

    Gee, that reminds me of someone else. . .


    How on earth would putting more US troops (none / 0) (#4)
    by MarkL on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 06:47:02 PM EST
    by the Pakistani border make Pakistan more stable?
    You have to be nuts to think that's the case.
    Obama is trying to win over the simpletons, saying "if only we would devote more troops to finding Bin Laden, conditions in Pakistan would be better"
    That makes no sense at all, in any analysis.
    It just appeals to people who want to feel good by chasing bad guys.

    Obama (none / 0) (#10)
    by Cillalaw on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 08:53:54 PM EST
    Having been to several Obama events and waiting for him to something of substance....well I'm still waiting. He says the same thing over and over, hasn't taken questions at any of the events I've been to.

    I think if he wins the nomintation the republicans will tear him apart. His voting record, or should I say lack thereof would provide so much fodder for attack ads it's just insane.  

    I was a Richardson supporter, I am now going to caucus for Edwards. I know a number of other people switching to Edwards as well. Don't count him out

    Sorry, I normall can spell (none / 0) (#11)
    by Cillalaw on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 08:54:44 PM EST
    Boy, I don't know what happened with that post.