Tags: Barack Obama | War on Terrorism | barack obama | david axelrod | terrorist | strategy | working

David Axelrod: Obama Believes Anti-Terrorism Strategy Is Working

By    |   Monday, 09 February 2015 10:24 PM

President Barack Obama believes his strategy against Islamic terrorists is working, said his former adviser David Axelrod to a disbelieving Bill O'Reilly Monday night.

O'Reilly quizzed Axelrod for two segments on Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor,"  as Axelrod promoted his new book, "Believer: My Forty Years in Politics."

O'Reilly noted that former Defense Intelligence Agency Director Michael Flynn and former defense secretaries Robert Gates and Leon Panetta have criticized Obama's war on terror and asked whether Obama himself believes his efforts are being successful.

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"Look, I'm not in the White House right now. I only know what the president has said publicly, and I think it's what he believes," Axelrod said. "He said from the beginning that this was going to take a long time to degrade ISIS."

Confronted by Obama's statements just one year ago that the Islamic State (ISIS) was a "jayvee" team, Axelrod said intelligence agencies around the world were taken aback by how quickly the group has grown and achieved power. It was announced over the weekend that ISIS has spread into Libya and Egypt.

Axelrod blamed former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's inaction for the rise of ISIS in Iraq, while O'Reilly pegged it on Obama's pullout of all American troops against the advice of his generals.

Axelrod asked O'Reilly how he would solve the problem, and O'Reilly responded with a plan he has been touting for months, in which a 40,000-strong multinational mercenary force would wipe out ISIS.

He told Axelrod the force would not be permanent and could be brought back in if ISIS rises again.

"It's not an occupation situation. It's a confrontation situation," he said.

Turning to Obama's controversial comments at last week's National Prayer Breakfast, Axelrod said Obama knew he would spark debate when he said Christians should not get on a "high horse" over Islamic extremism, pointing out that the Crusades and the Inquisition represented atrocities in the name of Chrsit.

"I think he knew what he was saying, knew it was provocative, Absolutely he knew that," Axelrod said. "His point is that … a quarter it of the world's population are Islamic and … the vast majority of them have nothing to do with extremism."

Axelrod also said he believes Obama would stand by his decision to trade five Taliban leaders for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who has been investigated for possible desertion from his post, though the final report has not been made public.

Axelrod says he hasn't talked to Obama about Bergdahl, but said, "I think he would stand behind what he has done."

On controversial ministers Jeremiah Wright and Al Sharpton, Axelrod said he notes in his book that Obama cut ties from Wright after he repeated controversial statements that Obama had criticized him over during his 2008 campaign. Wright never preached such sermons during Obama's years at his Chicago church, Axelrod said.

Sharpton, he said, is a recognized civil rights leader, and that is why Obama often meets with him. The tax problems of Sharpton's National Action Network should not be of any more concern than the bankruptcy of Donald Trump's companies.

"That didn't impeach him from being a visitor in the White House," Axelrod said of Trump.

But O'Reilly countered that Trump's debt wasn't to the federal government.

"I can't understand the Al Sharpton thing," he said. "I really can't stand it there are so many other good civil rights leaders, not polarizing, not anti-cop, not tax dodgers."

The two also bickered over who was worse raising the national debt, Obama or George W. Bush.

O'Reilly played video of Obama from 2008 calling Bush "unpatriotic" for raising the debt $40 trillion, when he has added $8 trillion himself.

Axelrod said the economic collapse of 2008 was to blame, and that Bush actually cut taxes while fighting two wars.

"I don't know if it's wise policy to raise taxes when take-home pay is going down as it has under President Obama," O'Reilly said.

Republican operative Karl Rove also appeared on the program, responding that when Obama was a senator, he constantly criticized Bush, asking for metrics to prove his points.

Now, Obama "simply asserts" his policies against ISIS are working when the metrics show they are occupying more territory and causing more deaths.

O'Reilly, for his part, said Axelrod was loyal to his old boss, and that he admires, if nothing else, that sense of loyalty.

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President Barack Obama believes his strategy against Islamic terrorists is working, said his former adviser David Axelrod to a disbelieving Bill O'Reilly Monday night.
barack obama, david axelrod, terrorist, strategy, working, muslim, extremism
Monday, 09 February 2015 10:24 PM
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