David Axelrod: Obama A Leader On Immigration

David Axelrod has come to the president’s defense after Mitt Romney seized on comments that Washington can’t be changed from the inside, saying that Barack Obama meant he needed to enlist the American people to make real change.

Axelrod cited Obama’s leadership on immigration as an example of this bottom-up change, Today reported. During four years of fierce opposition from Republicans, Obama learned the only way he can make change is to gain strong grassroots support.

“That’s a lesson that’s he’s learned over these four years,” David Axelrod told Today’s Savannah Guthrie. “That was the lesson he learned from the standoff on the debt ceiling last summer and he’s been making that point consistently.”

Axelrod said the fact that Mitt Romney seized on the president’s comments shows “how he’s just cascading from one gratuitous attack to another instead of talking about to solutions to problems we face,” Axelrod added

The gridlock President Obama faces is evident in the fight to enact immigration reform, David Axelrod added. Though Obama has strong support for his initiatives, he has faced opposition at every turn.

“Every single Republican walked away because it became the policy of the Republican party to walk away from immigration reform. Hopefully, with the votes in November, people will say, ‘OK, let’s come back to the table and get this done,’” he said.

Despite the Republican interference, Obama was able to pass some pieces of immigration reform in just the way Axelrod noted. He was able to sign a measure that suspends deportation for people brought to America as children and raised here, though not the full DREAM act he had wanted.

“He did move on that so there’s no doubt that he’s exercised leadership,” Axelrod said.

Axelrod is guiding Obama through a campaign that has reached another gear lately. Obama has seized control of the race, helped by the missteps of the Mitt Romney campaign — including hastily made comments criticizing the president in the wake of attacks on Americans in Libya and Egypt and later by the release of an incriminating video that shows Romney apparently disregarding the 47 percent of Americans that pay no income tax.

Obama now has extended his lead, according to election blog FiveThirtyEight, and has gained ground in crucial swing states like Florida, Ohio, and Virginia.

David Axelrod will have the chance to further make his case for Obama this Sunday morning when he appears on ABC’s This Week opposite RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.