04/15/2012 12:17 pm ET Updated Apr 15, 2012

David Axelrod: Criticizing Ryan Budget Not 'Empty Scare Tactics'

Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod rejected on Sunday the idea that the president is contradicting his "hope and change" message by attacking the budget proposal put forward by House Republicans.

After "Fox News Sunday" played a clip of President Barack Obama calling the budget "thinly-veiled social Darwinism," host Chris Wallace asked, "This from the candidate of hope and change?"

Axelrod said it was the president's duty to look at proposals by Republicans -- and to point out what the other side doesn't like in them.

"Well Chris, come on, to say that you don't want to engage in empty scare tactics is different than saying we're going to take a look at the proposals on the other side and critique them," he said. "That's what campaigns are about. That's what democracy is about."

As the campaign season ramps up, the president has been consistently attacking Republicans for their opposition to raising taxes on millionaires, along with their support of the massive spending cuts in the House Republican budget. GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney supports the budget, put forward by supporter Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), bringing the budget into center stage for the general election.

Wallace challenged Axelrod on whether it is fair for the Obama campaign to say that the budget, put forward by Ryan earlier this year, would amount to a tax cut for the wealthy. Wallace pointed out that, according to Republicans, there would be tax loopholes closed by the budget that would make the claim untrue.

In response, Axelrod threw the word "hope" back at Wallace.

"You talk about hope -- I guess your hope is that they will be forthcoming sometime in the future, but the fact is that we haven't heard them," Axelrod said.

Correction: The original article in one instance misidentified the host of "Fox News Sunday" as Chris Matthews. The host is Chris Wallace.