Video: In (limited) defense of David Axelrod
posted at 2:52 pm on April 16, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
I’ve seen this going around conservative circles, with the description that David Axelrod or Barack Obama believe that the Boston bombings had something to do with yesterday being Tax Day. But that’s not what Axelrod was saying. In discussing why Obama didn’t immediately call the attack yesterday “terrorism,” Axelrod replies that no one really knew what it was by then — and that a bad call could have serious consequences around the world:
You use those words and it means something very specific in people’s mind. And I’m sure what was going through the president’s mind is — we really don’t know who did this — it was tax day. Was it someone who was pro–you know, you just don’t know. And so I think his attitude is, let’s not put any inference into this, let’s just make clear that we’re going to get the people responsible.
Pretty clearly, Axelrod was trying to articulate a range of possibilities, albeit somewhat inarticulately. The point here wasn’t that Obama thought it had something to do with Tax Day, but that no one at the White House knew what had happened and what the motive might be. Axelrod should have either presented a list of options or avoided mentioning anything specifically at all to explain that, but he’s making practically the opposite point of the assumptions some are making of it.
In practice, it’s better to be careful rather than jump to conclusions. We should be agreeing with this point, even if clumsily made in this instance.