David Axelrod: Obama ‘Could Have Done More’ to Settle Americans’ Fears of Admitting Syrian Refugees

The former Obama strategist appeared on "This Week."

ByABC News
November 22, 2015, 2:01 PM

— -- Former Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said this morning that the president "could have done more" to combat Americans' fears surrounding the admittance of Syrian refugees into the United States.

"I'm the son of a refugee, I'm proud of the position the president took," Axelrod said, adding "before you attack the fear mongers you have to attack the fear, and he could have done more of that on the front end."

Axelrod, now a CNN senior political commentator, continued his critique of the president, saying his former boss did not stand up for the system of admitting refugees into the country as "explicitly as he should have," a process that Axelrod described as "very, very exacting."

Axelrod's comments were a reaction to ABC News’ Matthew Dowd, who discussed the difficulty finding support for the center ground between protecting national security and showing compassion for refugees.

"If you try to find a center ground in this, where you can say, 'we are a compassionate nation, that's who we are, that's who we are, and oh, by the way, we also want protection, we want to make sure we're protected,' you're actually attacked on both sides," Dowd said.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll found that since the attacks in Paris on November 13, 28 percent of Americans call the threat of terrorism their top issue in their choice for president, falling just short of the 33 percent who cite the economy as their top issue.

French authorities have said that one of the suspects in the attacks used a fraudulent Syrian passport.