• WisPolitics

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

 2:37 PM 

Axelrod muses on Walker's presidential chances

MILWAUKEE -- Obama strategist David Axelrod said Tuesday that he regards Gov. Scott Walker very seriously as a presidential candidate, calling the guv a "very practiced and accomplished politician."

Still, he added it's early in the race and Walker "has a lot to prove."

Axelrod told an overflowing crowd at a Marquette University Law School's "On the Issues" program that Walker has "thrilled the GOP base with his unrelenting war on unions" and by emphasizing his roots as a pastor's son, which appeals to social conservatives.

He noted that the Koch brothers "are smitten" with Walker and that in today's world, extremely wealthy people are able to influence politics in a way not seen since the Industrial Revolution's financial giants, such as J.P. Morgan and the Rockefellers.

But, he added, "running for president of the United States has more dimensions to it than running for governor of Wisconsin" and that Walker has yet to be tested on many presidential issues.

Afterward, Axelrod told reporters, "I think (Walker) has some prospects in this race, more so than some of the others who are running."

But Axelrod expressed warnings for Walker as well.

"I think there are a lot of unanswered questions, and they'll only be answered as he goes through the gauntlet of the campaign," Axelrod said. "It's a far more complex exercise than running for governor. You can outsmart yourself by trying to pander to your base to get the nomination and render yourself unelectable in the general election."

Axelrod, who stayed to sign copies of his new book, "Believer: My Forty Years in Politics," told the audience that "politics at its best can really make a great deal of difference, and that's why I'm a believer."

He said Barack Obama will be remembered in 20 years as a president who made deep differences even at the expense of personal popularity.

"He'll be the president who led us through the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression; he'll be the president who finally tackled the issue of health care in this country; he'll be the president who wound down two wars," Axelrod said. "He'll be the president who changed the way we deal with our gay and lesbian citizens."

As a senior adviser to the Obama administration, Axelrod said he nearly tried to talk Obama out of pursuing the Affordable Care Act.

"Seven presidents had tried, seven presidents had failed," he said. "Frankly, it concerned me."

But he said Obama was determined to "push through," telling Axelrod he never forgot a 36-year-old woman from Green Bay, who told the president in 2009 that she feared her stage 4 breast cancer would leave her family bankrupt.

"Every time it looked like we were done on health care, he kept us going," Axelrod said of Obama. "I'll never forget what he said. He said, 'What are we supposed to do, put our approval ratings on the shelf and admire it for eight years? Or are we going to draw down on it and do things of lasting value to the country?'"

Axelrod told reporters that the 2016 presidential campaign will boil down to voters' search for someone to fix the nation's sagging economy.

"The defining issue of our time is about the economy and whether we're going to have an economy that lives up to our fundamental value that in America, if you work hard, you can get ahead," he said.

Axelrod assured reporters that "America is ready for a female president, absolutely," but at the same time warned that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton "is being hurt right now by her sporadic press appearances."

"You want to be in the regular routine of campaigning," he said. "It's important that she gets there and gets there quickly."

"The great trap for Republican candidates" is their failure to win over millennials and minorities, Axelrod said.

Too many are following the example of Mitt Romney, Axelrod said.

"By running far to the right on immigration reform, by running far to the right on birth control and women's health issues, he walled himself off, not just from minorities, but from a lot of young people who had much different view on these issues," Axelrod said.

-- By Kay Nolan
For WisPolitics.com

Watch video of the Axelrod event


Back to Election Blog main page

: See newer blog items : : See older blog items :

Election Blog site feed

wispolitics.com Social News

Follow Us


Updates from WisPolitics.com on primary and general elections in Wisconsin.

Editor: JR Ross
Reporters: Chris Thompson, David Wise

· Election Blog site feed


· Campaign ads
· Audio archive
· Government Accountability Board (state elections)
· Federal Election Commission (federal elections)


· February 2007
· April 2007
· February 2008
· March 2008
· April 2008
· September 2008
· October 2008
· November 2008
· February 2009
· April 2009
· February 2010
· March 2010
· April 2010
· September 2010
· November 2010
· February 2011
· March 2011
· April 2011
· May 2011
· June 2011
· July 2011
· August 2011
· September 2011
· October 2011
· November 2011
· December 2011
· January 2012
· February 2012
· March 2012
· April 2012
· May 2012
· June 2012
· July 2012
· August 2012
· September 2012
· October 2012
· November 2012
· December 2012
· January 2013
· February 2013
· March 2013
· April 2013
· June 2013
· July 2013
· August 2013
· September 2013
· October 2013
· November 2013
· December 2013
· January 2014
· February 2014
· March 2014
· April 2014
· May 2014
· June 2014
· July 2014
· August 2014
· September 2014
· October 2014
· November 2014
· December 2014
· January 2015
· February 2015
· March 2015
· April 2015
· May 2015
· June 2015
· July 2015
· August 2015
· September 2015
· October 2015
· November 2015
· December 2015
· January 2016
· February 2016
· March 2016
· April 2016
· May 2016
· June 2016
· July 2016
· August 2016
· September 2016
· October 2016
· November 2016
· December 2016
· January 2017
· February 2017
Copyright ©2012 WisPolitics.com All rights reserved. | WisOpinion.com | WisBusiness.com  |  Website development by wisnet.com LLC  | Website design by Makin’ Hey Communications