Axelrod: Republican climate in Florida part of 'ideological jag'
Senior presidential adviser David Axelrod today dismissed the notion that the anti-Obama message lifting Marco Rubio in the Republican primary against Charlie Crist portends trouble for Florida Democrats, including 2010 gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink.
"I think the energy in the Republican Party is coming right now from the right," Axelrod said in a meeting this morning with reporters in Washington. He invoked the bank of GOP candidates nationwide being challenged within the party, as well as grassroots moves in South Carolina to censure Sen. Lindsey Graham as too moderate.
"You have to wonder if whether that’s a party that’s moving into the mainstream or moving away from the mainstream. I remember when Gov. Crist was being touted by the Republican Party as a national candidate just a couple years ago. I think the challenge isn’t for us as much as it is for them because this is going to define their party. ... I think we’re going to be speaking to the concerns of everyday people and we’re not on this kind of ideological jag and we’re not going to follow the route that their party seems to be. We want constructive ideas to improve the lives of people, to improve the economy in a way that lifts the middle class and that’s what we’re going to pursue."
But Axelrod later acknowledged that the economy and other issues have made for tough times for Democrats in general and stressed that the top priority for Obama in his second year is job creation. To that end, he hinted that Obama's upcoming budget proposal would recognize the economic role NASA plays in Florida. "We're committed to the program," he said.