"There wasn't much discussion about the implications if the thing went the other way," he said.
As we've reported, national Democrats blame Attorney General Martha Coakley and her staff for not running a more aggressive campaign. Axelrod said her camp only asked for Obama to campaign there for her the Thursday or Friday before the election.
"We were reliant on the campaign to tell us what their needs were and when they did, we responded," he said. "Unfortunately it came late in the game."
By then, Republican Scott Brown already had amassed the political momentum that helped him win the special election.
Axelrod said he was happy to take whatever blame people want to affix to the White House. He said the administration has been open about the need for "more robust intelligence gathering in the future" and that's one reason former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe is stepping up his role in the leadup to the 2010 midterm elections.
We'll have more soon from the Axelrod briefing, including the White House view of a path forward on health care now and a plan to be more aggressive highlighting Republican obstructionism.