Axelrod defends Obama for 'marvelous' attack on Romney

Top Obama strategist David Axelrod defended the president's needling of Mitt Romney for describing Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) budget proposal as "marvelous," saying that Obama had not strayed from his pledge to focus on issues and maintain a high-minded tone in his reelection fight.

On MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Tuesday morning, Axelrod was pressed by journalist Mark Halperin, who asked if Obama's comments on Romney in a recent speech were "consistent with this president's desire for the election to be about big things."

"I don't think anybody thought that the remark the president made was the essence of the speech. The essence of the speech was a very sober and detailed critique of the Republican policy," said Axelrod.

Last week, Obama drew attention to Romney's description of the Ryan plan in an address on the budget.

"He said that he's 'very supportive' of this new budget, and he even called it 'marvelous,' " Obama said of Romney. "Which is a word you don't often hear when it comes to describing a budget — it's a word you don't often hear generally."

Axelrod insisted that the one-liner did not distract from the president's overall message or his focus on the issues that concern voters.

"I think that was a small, throwaway line in the speech," he said.

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