Profiles in False Courage

Previous Burton, Axelrod statements on civility undermine response to false Super PAC smear
David Axelrod, Bill Burton / AP

David Axelrod, Bill Burton / AP


Overlooked in the fallout from the Obama-aligned super PAC Priorities USA’s inaccurate and controversial attack on Mitt Romney is the prior rhetoric of the group’s founder, former Obama White House spokesman Bill Burton, and that of the Obama campaign’s chief strategist, David Axelrod.

In 2008, Burton attempted to defend Michelle Obama from an ad run by the Washington state Republican Party by crying foul over the spot’s content and tone.

“How does it strengthen our country to pollute our politics with false and mean-spirited attacks?” he said.

That is the opposite from Burton’s current defense of his group’s ad in support of President Obama, which infers that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney may be personally responsible for the death of a laid-off steelworker’s wife.

However, Burton is not the only person in the Obama universe who is behaving hypocritically.

In March of this year, Axelrod launched a series of attacks through his personal Twitter account needling Romney and his team for not chastising radio superstar Rush Limbaugh for his characterization of Democratic activist and Obama surrogate Sandra Fluke.

Axelrod charged Romney and his campaign with not responding sufficiently to Limbaugh’s controversial description of Fluke as a “slut.” During the dust-up, Axelrod wrote the following sarcasm-laden tweet: “Romney on Rush: ‘I’ll just say this which is it’s not the language I would have used.’ Wow. Profiles in Courage.”

However, as the Obama-approved super PAC experiences its third day of intense scrutiny for its misleading ad, Axelrod has yet to weigh in on the controversy, instead relying on Obama campaign staffers to deny knowledge of the ad’s contents while standing by the ad’s claims.