A former top adviser to President Barack Obama suggested on Thursday that voters would perceive Hillary Clinton as a less complex alternative to Obama should she decide to run for president in 2016.
David Axelrod, a former White House senior adviser and a chief architect of both of Obama’s presidential campaigns, said that he thought the contrast could play to Clinton’s advantage.
“Even when a president is popular, people tend to seek the remedy and not the replica. They want someone who has the qualities that they miss in the president,” Axelrod said at a breakfast hosted by The Wall Street Journal. “This tends to be a pendular thing. I think in 2016 people are going to want someone who is a little less nuanced and a little less attuned to the complexity, someone who projects more of a sense of black and white certainty.”
Axelrod added that such an environment “favors Hillary Clinton more than the 2008 environment because she tends to be someone who speaks in simple, declarative sentences with great certainty.”
In August, Axelrod publicly criticized Clinton after she said that Obama's foreign policy mantra of “don’t do stupid stuff” lacked clarity.
“Great nations need organizing principles, and 'Don’t do stupid stuff' is not an organizing principle. It may be a necessary brake on the actions you might take in order to promote a vision,” Clinton told The Atlantic.
Axelrod, who worked on Clinton’s 2000 campaign for U.S. Senate, fired back on Twitter, criticizing Clinton’s vote in support of the Iraq war in 2002.
"Just to clarify: 'Don't do stupid stuff' means stuff like occupying Iraq in the first place, which was a tragically bad decision," Axelrod wrote.