Published September 13, 2009
The White House has a message to the tens of thousands of protesters who railed against big government during a rally in Washington Saturday: You're wrong.
"I don't think it's indicative of the nation's mood," Axelrod said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "You know, I don't think we ought to be distracted by that. My message to them is, they're wrong."
Axelrod said that President Obama has made clear he wants to "build on the system that we have," dismissing concerns that the president is proposing a large-scale government intervention and claiming broad support for the president's plan.
The rally, and others like it, have been billed as "tea parties," part of a movement that takes its cue from the Boston Tea Party and other imagery from the days of the founding fathers. On Saturday, men wore colonial costumes as they listened to speakers who warned of "judgment day" -- Election Day 2010.
FreedomWorks Foundation, a conservative organization led by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, had organized several groups from across the country for the Saturday event, dubbed a "March on Washington."
Some demonstrators specifically protested government spending and health care reform plans.
"I'm Not Your ATM," one sign said. Another slogan was, "Obamacare makes me sick."
Some signs, reflecting the growing intensity of the health care debate, depicted Obama with the mustache of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. Many made reference to Obama as a socialist or communist, and another imposed his face on that of the villainous Joker from "Batman."
Axelrod suggested Sunday that the more over-the-top demonstrations were representative of a minority view -- the kind exhibited at some town hall meetings over the summer.
"I don't believe that some of the angriest, most strident voices we saw during the summer were representative of the thousands of town hall meetings that went on around the country that came off peacefully, that were constructive, people voicing their points of view," Axelrod said. "You know, one of the great things about our country is people can express themselves even if they're not representative of the majority."