Axelrod: Campaign first believed health law was struck down

Axelrod gave a behind-the-scenes look at the reaction inside the campaign when the Supreme Court announced its decision on the healthcare law.

He noted he was in sitting in the office of Obama campaign manager Jim Messina when they read on Twitter what would prove an erroneous initial report that said the healthcare mandate has been struck down.

"We both worked in the White House during this healthcare debate and all the kids in campaign were out in the big bullpen watching on TV," said Axelrod on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"And we're looking at our devices and we're watching Twitter and the first thing that comes across is the CNN piece that says, 'Mandate struck down' and we're, like, trying to absorb this and all of a sudden there's a big cheer outside, and we're saying, 'What the heck is this?'"

"They're moles," joked MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski.

"We mulled that over and decided that wasn't the reason," Axelrod said.

Axelrod, a former reporter before his years as a political consultant and campaign adviser, said once the facts of the ruling became clear, both he and Messina were "overcome."

"It was an emotional moment and then we went outside and all these kids were cheering and crying and hugging. It really was a reminder of why you do the work," he said.

Obama, who watched the decision in the White House on Thursday, also initially thought the healthcare law has been overturned, according to senior administration officials.

Obama was standing in a room outside the Oval Office watching muted television screens that had originally displayed the misreported decision, until his his general counsel, Kathy Ruemmler, came into the room flashing two thumbs up.