Is this more of the Chicago way? There is a pretty well established history of Team Obama seeking to clear the electoral field by hook or by crook (pun intended) and out in Illinois, David Axelrod appears to be carrying on the family tradition, even as he seeks to deny it. An open seat in Illinois-8 in the suburbs of Chicago is up for grabs, and the party elders appear to have made their choice as to who should have it.

CHICAGO (AP) — In what is sure to be one of Illinois’ most closely watched congressional races, presidential adviser David Axelrod said another Democrat has made a mistake by being in a congressional race for an open seat in Chicago’s suburbs that will mean a primary fight with Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth.

Axelrod, a top adviser in President Barack Obama’s campaign, said he won’t try to push out Raja Krishnamoorthi, whom he calls a friend, but he predicted Duckworth would easily win next year’s primary and general election.

“I think he’s made a mistake by getting into this race but sometimes you know you have to make your mistakes and learn from your mistakes and unfortunately it’s going to be an expensive lesson,” Axelrod said after headlining a small fundraiser for Duckworth at a downtown Chicago restaurant.

So Axelrod is taking great pains to make sure everyone’s aware that he’s not… you know… throwing his good friend under the bus. But when somebody that far up the food chain goes public and declares your intention to run for office, “a mistake” it’s a pretty powerful message.

The other interesting point is that Krishnamoorthi got into the race first. That doesn’t mean he’s immune from a challenge, but it’s rather odd to come charging in now and try to push out the guy who has already done all the legwork early on. While not going negative on anyone, the candidate brings up what is probably the most astute observation about this move, saying that the real mistake is “for Washington party elders to pick their favored candidates from my community.”

Clearly he hasn’t had much experience with Obama’s team.