CBS's Jeff Glor confronted David Axelrod on Friday's CBS This Morning over his most recent attack on presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney: "You said that Mitt Romney was the most secretive candidate since Richard Nixon....I think that would strike a lot of people as extreme. Do you stand by those comments?"
Glor also pressed Axelrod on the Obama campaign's "outsourcer-in-chief" attack ads on Romney: "Fact Check, as you know, looked at this, found no evidence that Mitt Romney, while he was still running Bain Capital shipped American jobs overseas. Is it fair to keep those ads on the air?"
The journalist, along with anchor Erica Hill, interviewed the Democratic presidential campaign senior adviser eight minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour. Hill also played a little hardball with her guest in her lead question: "We just heard...the President charging Mitt Romney with playing politics over use of the word 'tax,' when it comes to the mandate. The President, of course, adamantly denied that it was a tax in 2009, when he was trying to sell this. The Supreme Court says otherwise. How do you reconcile that now as you try sell a tax to the American people?"
When Axelrod answered, in part, that "whatever you call it - whether you call it a mandate, whether you call it a tax - what it is is a penalty" and attacked Romney for "folding" to "Rush [Limbaugh] and the right and the guys in the Republican caucus on Capitol Hill," the CBS anchor took him to task: "But if you say it doesn't matter, the word that you use, then why does it matter if he [Romney] switches words, to your point?"
Glor stepped in once the Obama campaign official answered Hill's follow-up. He lead with his hardball question on the "outsourcer-in-chief' attack, and concluded the segment with his challenge to Axelrod. The Democratic pundit got almost a minute and a half to defend his "extreme" attack:
GLOR: David, you keep calling Mitt Romney the 'outsourcer-in-chief'. We heard what the President said on the trail, indicating that he sent jobs overseas. Fact Check, as you know, looked at this, found no evidence that Mitt Romney, while he was still running Bain Capital shipped American jobs overseas. Is it fair to keep those ads on the air?
AXELROD: Yeah, it absolutely is. First of all, those ads are based on reporting -- assiduous reporting, by the Washington Post, based on documents from the securities and exchange commission. So, we take issue with that particular fact check. The other issue that's in contention is Governor Romney keeps contending that he was not involved with Bain Capital after 1999, and, in fact, he remained as the chief executive and sole owner until 2001, and documents reflect that as well. So he -- you know, he can't run on his record and run from his record at the same time. And we're not going to allow him to do that.
GLOR: David, last night, you said that Mitt Romney was the most secretive candidate since Richard Nixon. You said this to CBS News Radio. I think that would strike a lot of people as extreme. Do you stand by those comments?
AXELROD: Oh, I absolutely do. Listen, you mentioned the $100 million that Mitt Romney raised. You know, he's the first presidential candidate since that time -- in recent years, Republicans and Democrats have all revealed who's raising money for them - the so-called bundlers. You have no idea, as we sit here, who is raising this money for Mitt Romney. He's the first candidate, Republican or Democrat, who hasn't released a series of years of tax returns. His father was a pioneer in this, when he ran for president, and said, you have to release multiple years or else, people can hide some of what they're doing. We just learned the other day, Jeff, from the Associated Press that Governor Romney has this Bermuda business, and he transferred it to his wife's ownership the day before he became governor of Massachusetts, so he wouldn't have to put it on an ethics form.
This is the most secretive candidate since Richard Nixon. What happened after Nixon was, we, as a country, said we need a higher level of disclosure, so people know who their candidates are, what their entanglements are and we can make judgments on it. Governor Romney and his campaign have stonewalled, and they're trying to turn the clock back 50 years on transparency and disclosure. So I absolutely stand by it, and the real question is, you know, is the news media going to press him on it? And I know that Jan Crawford had an interview with him the other day, and she had a very brief time with him. But I'd like to see those questions asked of him.