Time For Republicans To ‘Put Up Or Shut Up,’ Axelrod Says

January 28, 2010 2:45 p.m.

White House political adviser David Axelrod said Democrats “haven’t shined a bright enough light” on Republican obstructionism, but said it’s time for the GOP to step forward and be accountable.

It’s a new message the White House has telegraphed this week first from Vice President Joe Biden to a Democratic party gathering, then President Obama during his State of the Union address. It’s also a combative tone that the Democratic National Committee pushed even before Obama stopped speaking Wednesday night.

As Obama prepares to speak to the House Republicans during their annual retreat tomorrow in Baltimore, Axelrod spoke to reporters and opinion makers at the White House detailing a newly aggressive Democratic strategy.

He noted that House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) called for a jobs bill a few months ago and wondered if Republicans will continue support one now.

“It’s time to put up or shut up,” Axelrod said. “We will put the other party to the test and they will have to explain why they are standing in the way.”On a similar note he criticized 7 Republican senators including John McCain for voting against a debt commission measure they had co-sponsored.

“You can’t pretend to be deficit hawks and then be chicken when the votes come up,” Axelrod said.

He also highlighted that last February just three Republicans voted for the stimulus plan, which had 25 different tax cuts.

“We’re going to put the onus on them, we’re not going to let them sit it out,” he said.

Axelrod scoffed at Virginia Gov Bob McDonnell’s State of the Union rebuttal, saying that some of the health care ideas the Republican touted last night are in the bills being considered on Capitol Hill.

He also said the three recent Republican winners in statewide elections – McDonnell, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen.-elect Scott Brown – aimed to be “consensus candidates” on the campaign trail.

Those Republicans “ran away from the base of their own party” and have more unifying campaign rhetoric than the Republican leadership in Washington, he said.

He said McDonnell seemed to “play the piano in the front of the saloon,” adding, “He plays sweet music but in the back room they are putting on brass knuckles.”

More from the Axelrod briefing here and here.

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