Axelrod Responds to Atrios

Over at Eschaton, Duncan posted the following this afternoon:

Is Ben Nelson Insane?

Perhaps someone should ask Axelrod, since he's trying to sink the HCR bill.

You can make the punch a hippie strategy work for you, or you can just do it for sport.

Having been invited on to a blogger conference call with David Axelrod, I decided to pass on Duncan's question. Here's Axelrod's response (apologies for just posting the audio but not transcribing it -- I cut a significant chunk out of my middle finger yesterday and typing is a little laborious):

Here's Ari Melber's characterization of the exchange under the headline "Axelrod Walks Back Insanity Defense on WH Blogger Call":

MyDD's Jonathan Singer said he was channeling another blogger, Duncan Black, to ask whether Axelrod's recent "insane" remark about Howard Dean's position also applied to Ben Nelson's willingness to scuttle the entire bill. "I'm not professionally qualified to judge insanity and maybe I should have used a different word," Axelrod said, and he noted that "everybody's a little on edge at this point" in the long legislative battle. He also stressed his respect for allies in the "progressive community," but reiterated his view that it would be "wrongheaded" to squash all of health care reform at this point, which is "infinitely better" than the status quo.

You can read more about the call from Melber.

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Obama reserving the right to torture? Non-denial denial from White House (UPDATED)

I don't have any desire to write an "Obama=Bush" diary and that's not what this is. But I think it's important to point out that the White House has failed to deny one of the most outrageous accusations leveled by Dick Cheney in his speech Thursday morning. And I find it more than a little disturbing.

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NYT*: Geithner Wins. We Lose. TARP II=TARP I + $1.5 T

Well, it appears the NY Times has the scoop on TARP II, as U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will outline it in a speech tomorrow. Essentially, Geithner has prevailed. What this means is Wall Street has just won a big one, and Main Street just got screwed...huge.

According to the NY Times, here's the deal: "Geithner Said to Have Prevailed on the Bailout."


Geithner Said to Have Prevailed on the Bailout
By STEPHEN LABATON and EDMUND L. ANDREWS
Published: February 9, 2009 (late today)

WASHINGTON-- The Obama administration's new plan to bail out the nation's banks was fashioned after a spirited internal debate that pitted the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, against some of the president's top political hands.

In the end, Mr. Geithner largely prevailed in opposing tougher conditions on financial institutions that were sought by presidential aides, including David Axelrod, a senior adviser to the president, according to administration and Congressional officials.

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Axelrod, Gibbs to Join the White House

George Stephanopoulos has the story:

Former Obama chief strategist David Axelrod has accepted the position of Senior Adviser in the White House, sources tell ABC News.

Robert Gibbs is also likely to join Obama's White House as Press Secretary, and Obama would like his confidante Valerie Jarrett to play a key role. The exact parameters have not been set.

It's not terribly surprising to see Barack Obama carry forward some of his campaign staff into his administration, particularly in the case of David Axelrod, who is reportedly very close with not only Obama but also incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Despite their very, uh, different personalities, Obama and Emanuel have one big thing in common: David Axelrod. Emanuel is one of Axelrod's closest friends; Axelrod even signed the ketubah at Emanuel's wedding.

They first got to know each other during Richard Daley's 1989 mayoral campaign and then worked on a couple campaigns afterwards. In 2002, Axelrod served as the media consultant for Emanuel's 2002 first Congressional race[.]

[...]

When Emanuel led the Democrats' efforts to take back the House in 2006, Axelrod was his chief political adviser.

We have seen that this team -- Axelrod, Robert Gibbs, Rahm Emanuel -- is very good at campaigning (the first two in the course of the Obama campaign, Emanuel in the course of running the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee). Here's to hoping that their governing skills are in the same neighborhood as their electoral skills.

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Axelrod DISMANTLES Rick Davis, Stale GOP Talking Points!

See below for video of Axelrod schooling Rick Davis.

On FOX News Sunday this morning, Axelrod flashed his mastery of the verbal smackdown by dismantling Rick Davis's exhausted talking points in sensei-like fashion. Axelrod controlled the entire segment by subduing interruptions, deflecting lies and reducing Davis's patented GOP drivel to a feeble, incoherent mash-up of tired conspiracy theories.

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