Axelrod: Cain not top-tier, GOP nomination will come down to Romney and Perry

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Axelrod said that Romney was the candidate who most concerned the president's reelection team, and indicated that Democrats saw Romney's shifting positions on some social issues as ripe for attack.

“He has a history going back 20 years when he was a moderate-to-liberal Republican in Massachusetts: pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-environmental protection, obviously pro-health reform,” said Axlerod. “He was anti-Ronald Reagan, said he was an independent during the Reagan years, and now he’s done a 180 on all those things.”

The Democratic National Committee recently launched a Web campaign at "WhichMitt.com" that attacks the former Massachusetts governor, the first clear indication that Democrats see Romney as the most viable threat to the president's reelection.

Axelrod also criticized Cain's now-famous 9-9-9 tax proposal, saying the plan "deserves scrutiny."

"I don’t think it’s good for most Americans," Axelrod said. “I think you’ve got to add the 9-9-9 up, get to 27 percent, and that’s probably what poor and middle-class people will end up paying once the thing is implemented.”