It is a mystery why the Obama campaign sends David Axelrod on TV so much and why the Romney team doesn’t send its candidate on more often.
Axelrod has repeatedly proved himself to be an insincere and stumbling defender of the president. Sunday was no exception. Watch him try to squirm out of his own false economic promises:
It is not only what he was saying — which was quickly proven false with a quick Google search — but his halting delivery and refusal to answer the interview directly that makes him look downright shady. Later grilled on the tax issue Axelrod seemed, once again, evasive:
WALLACE: David, when the president said that, the economy was growing at a rate of 2.3 percent. If the economy was too fragile then for a tax increase on the wealthy, why is it OK now when it is the economy was growing more slowly at 1.5 percent?
AXELROD: Chris, I was there at the time. And let me review a little bit of history. The president was prepared to allow the taxes in the higher tax bracket to expire because they cost 800 billion over a decade and we have to deal with our fiscal situation as well. And there is no evidence that those tax cuts are particularly stimulative to the economy.
WALLACE: David, if I may. If I may. No, if I may because you’re mistaken. That was December in 2010. This was in January of 2010. It was before the deal with the Senate. This was just on it’s own merits. This is, in fact, at the Republican conference, the retreat up in Baltimore, and the president said it’s no time to raise taxes on anyone because the economy is too weak, it’s only growing 2.3. Now, it’s growing at 1.5 percent.
AXELROD: Chris, the president has never argued that tax cuts to the wealthy is stimulative to the economy. The truth is we have to make a choice and the choice is — what do we need to do to both grow the economy in the short run and to bring down these deficits in the long run?
And $800 billion of tax cuts for the wealthy is not a choice we should make, especially — you neglect the fact on Governor Romney, which is he wants to add another $5 trillion of tax cuts on top of that and most of the tax cuts that were analyzed this week, they would raise taxes on millionaires by $250,000 and they would raise taxes on the middle class by $2,000. That is not the way to grow the economy. It’s the middle class that needs money in their pocket right now. That’s what’s going to keep this economy moving.
And the president has cut taxes on the middle class by $3,600 on the average for — an average family.
Axelrod tell two big whoppers (on Bush tax cuts and on growth predictions) in the space of a few minutes and can’t explain why now raising taxes will help the economy. Really, who’s idea is it to send him out there?
As inexplicable as that is, it’s puzzling why Romney doesn’t venture out more often. He’s a good spokesman for his own defense. Here’s just one exchange with Gloria Borger that aired on CNN on Sunday:
BORGER: . . . Do you agree with the characterization that it would be reckless to remove [the Bush] tax cuts?
ROMNEY: The great majority of small businesses pay taxes at the individual rate. So as he raises these taxes, quote, “on the wealthy,” he’s raising taxes on small business. That kills jobs. If your priority in this country is to punish success, vote for President Obama. If your priority is to create more success and more jobs, vote for me.
Look, I know the very wealthy are going to do just fine, whoever is elected. The middle class is the people -- that’s the group of people that I’m most concerned about. They need our help -- and the poor. They need our help. They need our help with good jobs. That’s going to only come if we encourage this economy by keeping the burdens on small business down.
BORGER: Well, but the president said, if the Republicans in Congress had gone along and passed his jobs bill, that there would be more jobs in the pipeline right now than there are. How do you respond to that?
ROMNEY: Well, the Republicans in Congress watched the Democrats in Congress, four years ago, pass the president’s jobs bill, his stimulus bill, $787 billion of new borrowing. And they saw the results. They were told unemployment would stay below 8 percent. It’s not been below 8 percent since.
His approach of just spending money on government programs did not create the jobs that America was looking for. So the idea of doing the same thing again and expecting a different result is, famously said, the definition of insanity.
That sort of calm, direct response helps Romney with undecided voters who are not pleased with Obama’s economic results but have questions about Romney. Frankly, his campaign did him a disservice keeping him under wraps for a good deal of the campaign. He’s knowledgable and commanding when he talks about the economy, and he should get out there to sell his agenda. The Obama team is short on answers (hence, the Harry-Reid-lie-at-all-cost attacks), but unless Romney makes the case for himself, voters aren’t going to understand what his is agenda is all about and why it makes sense to stop with the borrow-spend-borrow cycle and stop threatening to raise taxes on employers and investors.