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Video: In (limited) defense of David Axelrod

posted at 2:52 pm on April 16, 2013 by

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.

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Ed, you aren’t giving him enough credit.

Axelrod knew precisely what he was saying. He uses every opportunity to paint conservatives as extremists. This simply allowed him to do it while attempting to sound as if he was intentionally doing it.

weaselyone on April 16, 2013 at 3:07 PM

^not sound

weaselyone on April 16, 2013 at 3:07 PM

I think the method designates it as terrorism but it would be weird if it was a personal act designed to hurt specific individuals rather than everyone.

Cindy Munford on April 16, 2013 at 3:18 PM

C’mon you guys, Ed’s just trying to show the Internet that he’s not the knee-jerk reactionary that the “rest” of the conservative blogosphere is or something. Let’s not cramp his style.

Cylor on April 16, 2013 at 3:34 PM

Sorry Ed, but I disagree completely here. Axelrod said what he did to convey his and the White House’s approval of the media insinuating that the bombing was the work of right-wing extremists at every opportunity it can, and to encourage them to keep it up.

The White House wants to hang this attack right around the neck of the Republican Party, and force them to campaign in 2014 with this millstone dragging them down. By encouraging Wolf Blitzer, Chris Matthews, the rest of the MSNBC gang and everyone else in the MSM to keep speculating that the blame lies with right-wing wackos operating with the full consent and support of all conservatives in this country, the White House gets this benefit without the need of Obama getting his own hands dirty.

Gator Country on April 16, 2013 at 3:46 PM

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.

Bullchit..from a campaigner whose every word and activity was scripted and poll tested…of course he meant to imply a right-wing anti-tax, anti-government, tea-bagger was involved.

Otherwise the comment would have been.

We really don’t know who did this so let’s just make clear that we’re going to get the people responsible.

That’s ALL that needed to be said…..the original comment was his dogwhistle to the rest of the media to begin speculation about some home-grown right wing wackos.

So no, Ed….Axelturd doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt here.

HumpBot Salvation on April 16, 2013 at 4:02 PM

No way. “Tax day” is a loaded statement coming out of Axelrod’s mouth — as in anti-tax Tea Party types doing evil on tax day. If recent history had been his guide, rather than pure political calculation, he would have suggested the insane-person-doing-insane-things theory.

Robin888 on April 16, 2013 at 5:36 PM

Axelrod replies that no one really knew what it was by then —

BS.

and that a bad call could have serious consequences around the world:

More BS.

No one really gives a crap if Obama calls it a terrorist on the day it happens.

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.

BS.

Why would he be thinking it’s “tax day” while thinking about, allegedly, whether or not this was a terrorist attack?

This is back tracking and spin to distract from what was a (bad) politically based decision. And there is a history of this admin doing that.

The mistake has been corrected in record time. Much faster than it took to call Benghazi a terrorist attack.

farsighted on April 16, 2013 at 6:03 PM

And as I posted elsewhere…

… about the notion that “Tax Day” is a day right-wing types would use for a terrorist attack but nothing special to Islamist jihadists…

In his declaration of war against the US and subsequent fatwas bin Laden specifically stated that it was just fine, even preferred, to target US citizens because they paid the taxes used to fund the US foreign policies he cited as his excuse to engage in terrorist attacks against the US and US citizens wherever they can be found.

Is that what Dear Leader was thinking? If so, why didn’t Axelrod say so? That would be because Comrade O, and Axelrod, and every other left-winger, were in their minds linking and repeating over and over … “tax day”, “right-wing”, “terrorism”.

farsighted on April 16, 2013 at 6:09 PM

. . . the original comment was his dogwhistle to the rest of the media to begin speculation about some home-grown right wing wackos.

. . . .

HumpBot Salvation on April 16, 2013 at 4:02 PM

Ed, I’d have to agree. There is no reason to defend Axlerod at all. He knew exactly what he was doing when he said that. And MSNBC is dog whistle central!

The man was actively playing his part, along with Chuck Todd, in helping to spare the President the criticism he richly deserved for not initially calling it exactly what it obviously was — terrorism.

They BOTH no doubt recalled the President’s similar too-cute-by-half comments back on September 12th to Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes Wednesday, which (thankfully for the President) CBS then completely buried to protect the President until just before the election, when they quietly released that portion of the interview, and it was too late to make a difference.

Axlerod was also providing the eager MSNBC audience an easy diversion by mentioning “Tax Day,”, thereby sparing the President, or his spokesman, or any of his substantive officials the necessity of generating any speculation by openly saying what the entire left dearly craves at this point — read meat to chew on!

And, he did it right down to the sudden pause, where he began add something else, and then suddenly held back.

. . .
Was it someone who was pro -– you know, you just don’t know.

Trochilus on April 16, 2013 at 6:21 PM

I guess one difference between me and Ed is I think Axelrod and Obama and most of his political advisers are habitual opportunistic liars.

Just like Lenin they will say anything to anyone at any time if they think it will advance their cause.

farsighted on April 16, 2013 at 6:40 PM

I have to go with the majority here. These Chicago goons play hard and dirty.

KCB on April 16, 2013 at 7:10 PM

You have to be kidding me.

The Rogue Tomato on April 16, 2013 at 7:16 PM

Ed Morrissey is a “moderate” conservative, i.e., a liberal Republican.
David Axelrod is slimy deceitful Goebbels knock-off who deserves nothing but contempt and disgust, i.e., an ordinary run-of-the-mill 21st century DNC spokesman. There’s bound to be some confusion, caused by Ed’s tendency to accept dictionary definitions of words, as opposed to how Democrats use them.

S. D. on April 16, 2013 at 9:23 PM

Why on God’s Earth are you unwilling to acknowledge the malevolence of this regime when it is staring you square in the face, Ed Morrisey?

IronDioPriest on April 16, 2013 at 9:40 PM