10/18/2011 10:58 am ET | Updated Dec 18, 2011

David Axelrod: 'Ask Osama Bin Laden' If Obama Was Prepared As President (VIDEO)

WASHINGTON -- A senior political adviser is defending President Barack Obama's campaign-style travels to sell his jobs program, saying "he's out there because the only people who are going to move these Republicans are the American people."

Speaking to MSNBC Tuesday, David Axelrod said Obama's re-election effort was always going to be difficult. Axelrod said that "by definition," the 2012 campaign will be rough because Obama came into office amid economic hard times and wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

When MSNBC's "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough expressed skepticism about Obama's preparedness as president and implied that his first term hadn't necessarily provided a strong record for reelection, Axelrod struck back.

"He said he was going to end the war in Iraq. In a few months, we will have all our troops home from Iraq. He said he was going to up the ante and go after al Qaeda in a serious way in Afghanistan. Osama bin laden is gone. The leadership of al Qaeda is on the run," Axelrod responded. "So when you say he wasn't prepared, maybe you should go ask Osama bin Laden if he thought he was prepared."

Axelrod continued, saying that Obama's decision to authorize the bin Laden operation was a risky maneuver, but the correct choice.

"If it went badly, not only would a lot of lives had been lost but his career probably would have been over. He did it because he thought it was the right thing to do," Axelrod said. "So when I hear you say that, it spoils my Starbucks."

Axelrod also accused House Republican leaders of being "in the thralls of extremists" and said Obama had no choice but to go outside Washington with his arguments.

He said even though Democrats had "all the wind at our back the last time," 47 percent of the American people still voted for someone else.