Biden reportedly disparaged former Obama aide Axelrod following criticism of campaign

November 17, 2023

Amid a spate of bad polls, a top aide to former President Barack Obama suggested that President Joe Biden reconsider his run for re-election, which reportedly earned that former adviser an explicit denunciation from the incumbent, according to the New York Post.

Per a recent report, Biden, who is known to have a penchant for uttering curse words in private, was said to be furious at a critique of his age and electability from former top Obama strategist David Axelrod and used a choice expletive to dismiss Axelrod's unsolicited campaign advice.

Axelrod offers Biden some campaign advice

Earlier this month, in response to a New York Times poll that showed President Biden losing to former President Donald Trump in nearly all of the key "battleground" states, former Obama aide Axelrod posted a thread of tweets that seemingly urged the Biden campaign to essentially get going or get out of the race.

Of primary concern to Axelrod was Biden's advanced age, and though it was an admitted risk for Democrats to change candidates this late in an election cycle, the specter of another Trump presidency -- particularly when there were younger and more vigorous Democratic leaders waiting in the wings -- made such a change something worth considering.

"Only @JoeBiden can make this decision. If he continues to run, he will be the nominee of the Democratic Party. What he needs to decide is whether that is wise; whether it's in HIS best interest or the country's?" Axelrod concluded.

Biden disparaged Axelrod following age critique

About a week later after Axelrod's string of critical tweets, Politico's Jonathan Martin published a lengthy piece about President Biden and his campaign which was chock full of even more advice about how he could "turn it around" over the coming year before the 2024 election.

That article noted that the outspoken former Obama aide was not alone among Democrats in harboring concerns about Biden's age and electability but also observed the elderly president's openly displayed "resentments" and how he often bristles at such critiques.

Yet, "Calling David Axelrod 'a prick,' as a person who has heard Biden use the word says he does in private, is not a strategy to win 270 electoral votes," Martin wrote.

Axelrod said Biden "wouldn't be the first" to use the term

Mediaite reported that Axelrod seemed to take the reported insult from President Biden in stride when asked about the Politico piece during an appearance on CNN this week.

Axelrod first acknowledged that Biden "wouldn’t be the first" to use the disparaging term against him and told host Kasie Hunt, "Listen, I understand he was irritated because I raised concerns that many, many Democrats had."

"And again, you know, my feeling is either get out or get going," he continued. "But the status quo, the way they were approaching the campaign, this sort of 'What me, worry?' attitude about the campaign was not going to get him to where he needs to go."

Has accepted that Biden is "unhappy with me"

Mediaite further reported that Axelrod noted the stark difference between former President Trump and other Republican leaders and said, "So the stakes are very high. He knows that. What I think he needs, he needs to take a sober look at the whole landscape."

"And yes, he’s committed to moving forward," he continued. "I get that he ought to, but he ought to then look at what his campaign is doing and what they need to do, and get out of this sort of referendum frame and go after Donald Trump every day because Donald Trump will be the nominee of the Republican Party."

In the end, despite having clarified that he wasn't initially calling for Biden to drop out of the race, he nonetheless accepted the fact that his critique had made Biden upset and told the CNN host, "I’ll live with the fact that the president’s unhappy with me."

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