Former top aide: 'I don't know why there is confusion' on Obama's beliefs
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David AxelrodDavid AxelrodVoters need to feel the benefit, not just hear the message Race is not central to Rittenhouse case — but the media shout it anyway David Axelrod calls Rittenhouse judge 'defense attorney on the bench' MORE, a former senior adviser to President Obama, said Sunday that he does not know why there are doubts about what President Obama believes.

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Former New York City Mayor Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiFormer NYC police commissioner to testify before Jan. 6 committee, demands apology Midterms are coming: Will we get answers on Jan. 6 before it's too late? Subpoenas show Jan. 6 panel's focus on Trump's plans MORE (R) has sparked days of controversy by saying that Obama does not love the United States. Appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation," Axelrod was not asked specifically about Giuliani but about "why there is so much confusion now about what this president believes."

"You know, it is interesting. I always believe that the last president kind of sets the terms of the next election, and the last president was a very Manichean kind of guy, black and white, saw the world in those terms," Axelrod replied. "America wanted someone who saw the gray, who saw the nuances, who understood the complexities of the world and who made decisions, and think about the long-term, and not just the next step, and that is what they got in Barack Obama."

"So I don’t know, you know, I don’t know why there is confusion," he added. "I think that there is nuance, and there is an ability to see gray, which is really important in the world in which we live. That is true on foreign policy and national security; it is also true on domestic policy. He thinks several steps ahead."

The White House has pushed back hard on Giuliani's comments, pointing out that Obama has said numerous times that he loves the United States. 

"The most high-profile example that I can think of was actually the last line of this year’s State of the Union in which the president said, 'God bless this country we love,' " White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Friday. 

Earnest also said of Giuliani, "It’s sad to see when somebody who has attained a certain level of public stature, and even admiration, tarnishes that legacy so thoroughly."