Obama Strategist David Axelrod Slams Mitt Romney for Changing Positions

Axelrod: "I think there's this question about what his core principles are."

ByABC News
October 16, 2011, 10:18 AM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 16, 2011— -- Obama campaign advisor David Axelrod slammed Mitt Romney for changing positions on major issues throughout his political career, questioning the "core principles" of the presumptive front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination.

"I think there's this question about what his core principles are," Axelrod said, citing changes in Romney's positions from earlier in his political career when he was running for U.S. Senate and Massachusetts governor. "Then he was a pro choice, pro gay rights, pro environmental candidate for office. Then he decided to run for president. Did a 180 on all of that."

"So time and time and time again he shifts – and you get the feeling that there is no principle too large for him to throw over in pursuit of political office," Axelrod added.

Axelrod has recently turned a laser-like focus to Romney, holding a conference call last Wednesday to critique Romney's record and his remarks at last Tuesday's GOP debate.

"If I were Governor Romney I'd be worried about all these changes in position and … what kind of message that sends to voters," Axelrod told "This Week" anchor Christiane Amanpour.

While Romney has solidified his front-runner status through strong fundraising and debate performances, Axelrod said he is not certain if he will be the eventual Republican nominee, noting how fluid the race has been in recent months.

"Now Herman Cain is leading the primary. The last poll Rick Perry was leading it. Earlier Michele Bachmann was doing very well," Axelrod said. "But Romney stays the same."

But while Cain currently leads in the latest polls, Axelrod said Romney and Perry's financial resources may give them a long-term advantage.

"If as a political professional you'd look at it and you'd say there are two candidates who are likely to be competing at the end," Axelrod said. "And one would be Perry and the other would be Romney just based on the resources that they have."

"But this is a funny year. So I don't know," Axelrod added. "It's a very dynamic process."

He said Perry, who he called "less than impressive" in recent debates, may use his financial advantage to go after his opponents through the airwaves.

"He has a lot of resources," Axelrod said. "And his career has shown a penchant for going hard after his opponents."

Distress on Jobs

While President Obama's full jobs bill was rejected by Congress last week, Axelrod believes elements of the bill can gain support as individual votes in the coming weeks.

"It took a setback… as one entity," Axelrod said. "But now we're going to take it apart, and we're going to go piece by piece. The American people support every single plank of that bill. And we're going to vote on every single one of them."

Axelrod said the sequence of votes is still being discussed, but that he believes Americans continue to support the bill's provisions, such as infrastructure spending and extension of a payroll tax cut.

"The American people strongly support it. And the American people are going to be heard on this legislation," Axelrod said. "I think so many Americans are just sitting there saying, 'Act,' to Congress. 'Do something. Stop playing games.'"

He said he believes that frustration can be seen in the "Occupy Wall Street" protests happening throughout the country and now spreading overseas.

"The American people want a financial system that works on the level. They want to get a fair shake." Axelrod said. "And they want to know that the dealings that are made are done transparently so that if there are problems such as the ones we saw before the crisis, we'll be alerted to them, and we can stop the whole economy from being turned over."

Axelrod said he was not certain if the protests will be a positive for Democrats and President Obama in 2012, but said he does believe that the issues raised may hurt Republicans.

"Obviously I don't think any American is impressed when they see Governor Romney and all the Republican candidates say the first thing they'd do is roll back Wall Street reforms, and go back to where we were before the crisis, and let Wall Street write its own rules," Axelrod said. "I think that will be an issue in this campaign."