Axelrod: 'Is the Republican Party Going to Take the Position That They Are Simply Going to Sit on the Sidelines and Hope That the President Fails and the Country Fails?'
CNSNews.com: Given this past year and spending habits, do you believe that Barack Obama--well, Republicans have said that Barack Obama doesn’t have the credibility to reduce the deficit. How would you counter that?
David Axelrod, senior adviser to the president: Well I’d say a few things. First of all, as he mentioned tonight, the biggest run up in spending we’ve seen was in the last 8 years, under the last administration, in which item after item was undertaken--wars, tax cuts, a prescription drug program--without ever being paid for. We went from $5 trillion projected deficits for the next decade to $8 trillion of red ink projected over 10 years. So, I think if it becomes a battle of who’s credible, the president acknowledged that we have to spend money because we didn’t just inherit a fiscal crisis, we inherited an economic crisis and a financial crisis. And we had to deal with all three.
But I’d say this on the subject of credibility: Yesterday there was a vote in the United States Senate. The president endorsed a fiscal commission to--a bipartisan effort--to deal with the deficit that had teeth. There were seven--the vote went down, 53 votes, we needed 60. Seven of the people who didn’t vote for it, seven of the people that walked away, were Republicans, who actually were co-sponsors of the bill. And this is the core issue: Is the Republican Party going to take the position that they are simply going to sit on the sidelines and hope that the president fails and the country fails and that they will somehow benefit from this politically? Or are they going tog join with us in a bipartisan effort and deal with our problems. And that’s what we’re waiting to see.