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Axelrod: Obama wants to fix economy, not retain power

President Barack Obama’s phone call to Mitt Romney yesterday to congratulate him on his GOP nod was a friendly gesture in an otherwise contentious election race.

Some say the public is feeling a lack of enthusiasm due to the relentless negative ads, a criticism that comes amidst Obama’s slipping numbers in key battleground states across the country. 

“They’re called battleground states for a reason,” David Axelrod, senior adviser to the Obama re-election campaign told TODAY’s Matt Lauer Thursday. He pointed out that Mitt Romney is low in the polls in his home state of Massachusetts. “I don’t think anyone’s lost their home state and won the presidency in one hundred years,” he said.  

John Heilemann of New York Magazine interviewed Axelrod for the magazine's latest issue. Heilemann said that as Obama and Romney hurdle toward the election booths in November, the campaign trail will provide a “bracing revelation” about what Obama truly is: “not a savior, not a saint, not a man above the fray…but a brass-knuckled, pipe-hitting, red-in-tooth-and-claw brawler determined to do what is necessary to stay in power in other words, a politician.”

Axelrod contested that Obama is not interested in staying in power, but in “advancing the agenda that will move the country forward.” He said Obama is simply looking forward to having a debate with Mitt Romney, and that he believes in the signs of a strong economy. “There are things we have to do in order to promote it,” he said.

Axelrod alleges that it is Romney who has been attacking the president relentlessly over the last year and a half, “misrepresenting his record, and his own record. We do have a responsibility to straighten that out.”

Lauer countered, “So in other words, they did it first and you’re firing back?”

“No, I think people need to know what the facts are,” Axelrod said. “The facts of where we’ve been over the last three years.” He went on to criticize Mitt Romney for asserting that he is an “economic guru and savior.”

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