Axelrod calls Obama's midterm ballot line 'a mistake'

Axelrod: Obama's ballot line was mistake
David Axelrod

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Axelrod: Obama's ballot line was mistake 01:48

Story highlights

  • Axelrod says "it was a mistake" for Obama to say his policies would be on midterm ballots
  • Republicans were quick to use the sound bite in ads in key battleground states
  • RNC Chairman Reince Priebus says it's going to be "a pretty bad year for Democrats"
David Axelrod, formerly one of President Barack Obama's top advisers, said that if he were still writing Obama's speeches, he would not have advised that the President declare his economic policies will be on the ballot for November's midterm elections.
"I wouldn't put that line there," Axelrod said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday.
"It was a mistake."
Referring to declining unemployment rate over the past six months, Obama has said his administration is responsible for the recent economic progress.
"It is a direct result of the American people's drive and determination," he said in a speech at Northwestern University in Chicago last Thursday. "It's also the result of sound decisions made by my administration."
"I'm not on the ballot this fall. But make no mistake, these policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them."
Republicans were quick to use the sound bite in ads attacking their opponents in key battleground states.
"A vote for Greg Orman is a vote for the Obama agenda," a narrator says in an ad for Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts released Friday.
"Alison Grimes says this election is not about her support for President Obama and his failed policies ... But Obama himself says a vote for Alison is a vote for his policies," a narrator says in an ad for Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, released Friday.
The head of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, also weighed in Sunday on "Meet the Press."
"The President on Friday ... said that his policies are on the ballot. Well, if Barack Obama's on the ballot and his policies are on the ballot, it's going to be a pretty bad year for Democrats."
While Axelrod said he wouldn't have included the ballot line in the President's remarks, he did try to clarify what the President meant in terms of his position on the economy.
"But understand, if you read the speech, the context of the line was, the things he's pushing forward -- minimum wage, pay equity, infrastructure -- these are on the ballot," Axelrod said.
Axelrod has been a strong defender of President Obama since his departure from the White House.
In August, he knocked Hillary Clinton for criticizing the President's foreign policy approach, implying in a tweet that her vote in favor of the Iraq War as a U.S. senator in 2002 was "stupid stuff."