David Axelrod Defiant, but Shows the Strain
Obama adviser taking a lot of heat about White House message
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2010 5:04 PM CST
Presidential adviser David Axelrod.   (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – With the White House getting failing grades for having a muddled message, no Obama aide is taking more heat than David Axelrod. In an interview with the New York Times, Axelrod comes off as alternately:

  • Defiant: "I don't give a flying (the Times diplomatically says 'expletive') what the peanut gallery thinks."
  • Sarcastic: “Have I succeeded in reversing a 30-year trend of skepticism and cynicism about government? I confess that I have not."
  • Sincere about the president: "I love the guy."

He says he's got no problem with his "buddy Rahm," and dismisses talk of strife or the notion that he's too much of a loyalist to fix the president's image problems. Still, he's well-tuned to the criticism, and loved ones worry about the strain, writes Mark Leibovich. “Every time I hear that the White House is getting the message wrong, it breaks my heart,” says his sister. "I know he agonizes."