Axelrod Uses Rush Against Romney: 'Cowardly'

Top Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod linked the Rush Limbaugh free-speech controversy to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in an interview with Anderson Cooper Monday.

COOPER: It's unusual for the president of United States to reach out to an individual like this. Are you saying politics had nothing to do with it?

AXELROD: It's also unusual for someone with a large audience to vilify an American, a young American speaking out as she did. So there's a lot about this that was unusual. I thought it was unusual that so many leaders on the other side of this debate, in terms of the political debate, took a pass on this whole thing, a powder on this whole thing. Everyone should have stood up and said this was inappropriate as apparently many of Rush's advertisers now have said it was inappropriate. I was kind of shocked, Anderson, when Gov. Romney, all he had to say about the thing is that's not language I would have used. What about the spirit of what was said? I thought that was a cowardly answer and a test of leadership and one that he failed.

Limbaugh described contraception activist Sandra Fluke on his radio show last week in terms that have outraged mainstream media outlets and Fluke’s fellow activists. Axelrod insists that he is not politicizing the issue for the benefit of the Obama campaign. According to The Hill:

Axelrod also responded to Limbaugh's claims on his show Monday that Democrats were using the issue to boost the president’s approval numbers among female voters, calling the suggestion "ridiculous."

President Obama called Fluke last Friday and told her he condemned the "personal attacks" directed against her.