Former Obama administration adviser David Axelrod dismissed reported insults by Presiden Joe Biden, saying he will just have to “live with” being called a “pr–k” for his previous comments.
The chief strategist for Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns stood by his bleak outlook on Biden’s reelection chances as he spoke on CNN about a report that the president had blurted out the colorful insult when told about the criticism.
“He wouldn’t be the first, I guess, in my many years in politics,” Axelrod, who is now a CNN contributor and political analyst, said Monday when asked about the president allegedly calling him a “pr–k” according to reporting by Politico columnist Jonathan Martin.
.@davidaxelrod responds to @POTUS reportedly calling him a “p—-” after criticizing his campaign strategy: “He wouldn’t be the first I guess in my many years of politics … I’ll live with the fact the president is unhappy with me.”#StateOfTheRace @CNNi @StreamOnMax pic.twitter.com/hXVrnjCvpf
— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) November 13, 2023
Earlier this month, Axelrod had reacted to a brutal poll showing Biden trailing former President Trump in five out of six battleground states, wondering aloud whether it would be “wise” for the feeble 80-year-old president to drop out of the 2024 race.
“Only @JoeBiden can make this decision,” he wrote on X. “If he continues to run, he will be the nominee of the Democratic Party. What he needs to decide is whether that is wise; whether it’s in HIS best interest or the country’s?”
Evidently, the president was not pleased with the assessment, according to Martin who referred to the reaction in a piece that declared if Biden wants to win reelection, “he must make changes.”
“Calling David Axelrod ‘a p—-,’ as a person who has heard Biden use the word says he does in private, is not a strategy to win 270 electoral votes. And repeating a PG version of the same animus in public while litigating polling with the White House press corps also won’t make Biden’s re-election any likelier,” Martin wrote.
Notably, the president’s son Hunter Biden called Axelrod a “giant a– hole” during the run-up to the 2016 election.
On Monday, Axelrod did not walk back his initial assessment and shook off Biden’s insult.
“Listen, I understand he was irritated because I had raised concerns that many, many Democrats had. And again, my feeling is either get out or get going,” he told CNN’s Kasie Hunt.
“The stakes are so high,” he continued. “This isn’t [Senator] Mitt Romney or [former Senator ]John McCain … this is Donald Trump. It’s a fundamental question as to what American democracy is going to look like the day after the next election.”
“He knows that,” the analyst said of Biden, asserting that the president needs “to take a sober look at the whole landscape” and what his campaign is doing.
“I’m glad that I said it, and I’ll live with the fact that the president is unhappy with me,” Axelrod concluded, saying it is worth it if his comments sparked the Biden campaign to rethink its reelection strategy.
Martin’s piece in Politico echoed the charge for Biden to make changes in order to prepare for what seems an inevitable rematch with Trump. He cautioned that Democrats have to deal with the president’s age and the cost of living squeeze Americans are feeling.
“For Biden to use fundraisers, as he did Thursday, to deny his difficulties and complain about press coverage may be therapeutic, but it doesn’t make him any likelier to defeat Trump once more,” Martin wrote.
“The oldest president in history when he first took the oath, Biden will not be able to govern and campaign in the manner of previous incumbents. He simply does not have the capacity to do it, and his staff doesn’t trust him to even try, as they make clear by blocking him from the press. Biden’s bid will give new meaning to a Rose Garden campaign, and it requires accommodation to that unavoidable fact of life,” he added.
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