Axelrod: Romney Speech ‘Deeply Offensive to Many Middle-Class Americans’

by Patrick Brennan

Today in New York, Obama strategist David Axelrod took questions from reporters at a Bloomberg forum. NR was there. Right up front, Axelrod noted the “juxtaposition of the president’s speech yesterday with the one Mitt Romney made today.” He argued that the president’s detailed speech in Kansas, derided by many conservatives, “was a very thorough explication of his views on what the great challenges facing this country [and] his view on the economic challenges facing the country.”

He then attacked Romney’s speech, which presented the concept of an “entitlement nation,” as “deeply offensive to many middle class Americans.” He argued that Romney’s “suggestion was that somehow it was lack of effort that was prompting them to fall behind, not natural economic forces [or] policies that conspired against them,” suggesting it was “a perspective formed by [Romney’s] own experiences at Bain.” Axelrod said, “There’s a fundamentally different view of what is going on this country . . . a real sharp distinction that you can tell from these two speeches . . . that will help frame the debate.”

Next, Axelrod addressed the state of the Republican party, which “has split into two parties . . . the Tea Party and the Martini Party,” “the right-wing populists/social-conservatives . . . and the old center-right corporate Republicans.” He continued, “By orientation, Romney is more of the Martini Party sect. He’s spent the last six years banging on the door of the other, trying to win admission, abrogating one fundamental principle after another. They’re just not buying it . . . there’s a sense that they don’t really know what he stands for and they want a more authentic exponent of their view.”

Finally, Axelrod also cast doubt on Romney’s ability to campaign on his business experience, scoffing at “the notion that someone . . . would be a strong compelling candidate in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania when [he has] a history of closing down plants and outsourcing jobs in order to maximize [his] own profit.”

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