IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Axelrod: Romney backs same economic policies 'that got us into the mess in the first place'

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows President Obama leading Mitt Romney 51-44. But some of the poll’s other questions offered a bit better news for the presumptive Republican nominee. On jobs, respondents gave Obama a narrower lead: 46-43. And asked who they trust to handle the economy – perhaps the key question this fall -- they picked Romney by 47-43.

David Axelrod, the Obama campaign’s top strategist, joined the Morning Joe gang Tuesday to sound a note of confidence, and to roll out the charge that Romney is offering the same failed approach as that of President George W. Bush.

“Of course there are questions about the economy,” Axelrod told Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. “The question is, whether the answer is to go back to the same policies that got us into the mess in the first place. And when you listen to Mitt Romney, that’s what he’s prescribing – tax cuts for the very wealthy, cut Wall Street loose to write its own rules, and somehow we’ll benefit from that and everyone will prosper. We’ve tested that position, it was an abject disaster. Most working Americans understand that, and ultimately we’re going to win that fight.”

Axelrod defended the administration’s proposed “Buffett Rule,” an effort to narrow the widening inequality gap by requiring those making over $1 million to pay a minimum effective tax rate of 30 percent. “We have a tax system that’s rigged against the average person, rigged in favor of the very wealthy, and we need to fix that,” he said. “And this Buffett Rule will address that.”

Asked by TIME’s Mark Halperin about Obama’s performance on deficit reduction, Axelrod suggested that the administration is focused on the more pressing issues of economic growth and fairness. “At the end of the day, the question is, how do you grow the economy in a way that provides the greatest prosperity for the largest number of people,” he said. “So that means education, it means research and development, it means energy investments, it means infrastructure.” He blamed the GOP’s insistence on cuts in those areas for preventing a long-term deficit reduction deal.

And Axelrod slammed the Republican plan – embraced both by Mitt Romney and GOP budget point man Rep. Paul Ryan – to extend the Bush tax cuts for those making over $1 million per year. “We cannot spend another trillion dollars in the next ten years on tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, and address our deficits and deal with the challenges we need to deal with.”

President Obama has pledged not to extend the tax cuts if re-elected.