14:20: Google and POLITICO are hosting a tech/innovation/politics thingy at the Newseum today, and hello, in his first minute or speaking, David Axelrod, the president's chief adviser, suggested that President Obama wouldn't have been elected without advances in technology. Kind of a profound point, but one that could apply to a variety of presidents: Andrew Jackson and the rapid diffusion of newspapers; FDR and the radio; JFK and the television; Ronald Reagan and television commercials.
Liveblogging from the Newseum:
15:10: Axe's favorite apps: MLB Live, Pacman, POLITICO, a lot of the news apps.
15:03: Axe handicaps Rahm's prospects as a candidate for mayor. "He understands that if he does make that decision he's going to have to go door to door. One thing I know about Chicago is that no one gives you anything and you've got to earn it."
14:56: Axelrod explains why the White House cooperated with Woodward. "It was obvious that he had a lot of information and it was important to be placed in context." "Those who actually read the full book find that it tells the story of a very rigorous, thoughtful, and tough process to impose a strategy in Afghanistan that we didn't have for seven years." Axe discloses that he spoke several times with Woodward.
14:51: Axelrod won't handicap 2012. Prompted to talk about Chris Christie, he says he "likes him," and "he's a serious person." Axe doubts "he would leave a job he just began to run for president."
14:49: Axelrod hopes that Republicans will come out of the election "with a new sense of responsibility" to participate. He predicts "establishment corporate Republicans" in DC will clash with Tea Party Republicans.
14:45: David Axelrod discloses that he suffered from an intestinal parasite on vacation and decided to use the catalyst to continue to lose weight. He is "eating with some discretion."
14:43: Jon Stewart's rally? "The greatest service that he and others can perform is to encourage others to participate. The more people who participate, the better off we're going to be." Axe notes that there might be a diminution of the reserve forces for GOTV.
14:41: Axelrod says that Sen. Michael Bennet has seen thousands of GRPs in Colorado of negative ads against him and "is holding up well."
14:40: Axelrod says a large turnout will help Democrats and says that voters DO KNOW that Democrats have a message. (Really?) He says this in response to a Google Moderated question about how Democrats will forestall a major disaster in November. Axe challenges Ed Gillespie and Karl Rove to disclose who is funding "these tens of millions" worth of negative ads.
Now to the substance of Mike Allen's discussion with Axelrod. Axelrod exalted in the poor reviews that the Republican Pledge to America received, and then pulled out a talking point about how Republican economic policies "led to the biggest economic disaster since the Great Depression." But Axe correctly noted that among the biggest critics of the Pledge's "pablum" were the Rightroots.
In his public events, Axelrod has a standard answer to the question of "How tough an election it's going to be?" He notes that he warned President Obama of this potential narrative two years ago. But he thinks the election will be "idiosyncratic" because the GOP brand "is not strong at all." Not "Pollyannish," Axelrod said, but he's "eager" for the night. He thinks Democrats will have a better night than "you guys" predict.
Marc Ambinder is a contributing editor at The Atlantic. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.