CHICAGO (CBS) — Chief Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod on Monday called U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) a “far-right ideologue,” and said his selection as Mitt Romney’s running mate will be a “concerning pick” for voters who do not share his values.
Speaking on the CBS 2 Morning News Monday, Axelrod said Ryan is not a “particularly strong pick” for Romney’s running mate.
“Paul Ryan is a hard-right ideologue – a genial fellow – but very much an ideologue on budget issues, on social issues, and so, this doesn’t seem like a strong pick to me in that regard, and it seems designed to excite the base of his party,” Axelrod said. “I think it’s going to concern everybody else who doesn’t believe that we should make abortion illegal even in cases of rape and incest; who don’t believe that we should give huge tax cuts to millionaires and raise taxes on the middle class. I think for those folks, it’s going to be a concerning pick.”
Axelrod added that a jolt in campaign fundraising was expected for Romney when he picked Ryan, but the same happened when John McCain picked Sarah Palin in 2008 and it did not translate into a victory.
He also said the President Barack Obama’s campaign will inevitably be outspent in this election.
“We’ve said that for some time – not just because of the money that Romney is raising, but primarily because of all these third-party SuperPACs that are out there, that may spend up to a billion dollars on negative ads against the president and on behalf of Governor Romney, so that’s why the president was here this weekend, and why we have to raise the money we have to raise, because we’re trying to ward off not just the Romney campaign, but these other forces as well,” Axelrod said.
Axelrod added that he does not believe the Ryan selection will change the rhetoric of the campaign.
“It really doesn’t, because the Romney positions are very much derivative of Ryan’s theory. Romney and Ryan both believe, as I said before, that if we give trillions of dollars of new tax cuts, skewed to the wealthy — $250,000 for a millionaire; let taxes go up on the middle class, which would be the effect of it; cut things like college aid for students, cut Medicare, and so on – that we will be a stronger country and our economy will be stronger,” he said, “and we tested that theory a decade ago. Congressman Ryan was the leader in the House rubber-stamping all of the Bush economic policies, and we know how that worked out. I don’t think America wants to go back there.”
But political scientist Paul Green, of Roosevelt University, said picking Ryan will actually give the Romney campaign a shot in the arm – particularly given that up to this point, negative campaigning focused on Romney’s background has been the focus of the race.
“Any Political Science 101 student knows that when you’re running for reelection, it’s all based on the record of the incumbent. So far in this campaign, it’s based on the record of Mr. Romney as a private citizen. This is not the way to challenge an incumbent,” Green said. “Hopefully for Mr. Romney, Ryan makes it a real race based on the budget, the deficit and jobs, and that’s, I think , the main reason why he picked Ryan.”
He said Ryan is sure to get the conservative wing of the Republican Party excited.
“I think what’s going to happen is that Mr. Ryan is going to become the superstar, especially for the conservative part of the Republican Party,” Green said. “The question then becomes turnout, excitement.”