Ex-Obama aide Axelrod: Warren an emerging 'Yes We Can' candidate

Former Obama aide and Democratic strategist David AxelrodDavid AxelrodMark Cuban says he’s decided not to run for president The Hill’s Campaign Report: Senate map shows signs of expanding The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Trump touts reopening as virus fatality forecasts trigger alarm MORE is praising Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE’s presidential campaign, touting the Massachusetts Democrat as an emerging “Yes We Can” candidate for 2020.

Axelrod, who served as a senior adviser to former President Obama in the White House and worked as a chief strategist on his 2008 and 2012 campaigns, penned an opinion piece late Friday lauding Warren’s performance in the second round of Democratic debates earlier this week in Detroit.

Warren “is running a strategically brilliant campaign,” and “more than any other candidate, she has a clear, unambiguous message that is thoroughly integrated with her biography,” Axelrod wrote in his piece for CNN, where he serves as a senior political commentator.

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Axelrod said that “Warren has put critics of her grand plans on the defensive in much the same way Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaHarris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Five ways America would take a hard left under Joe Biden Valerie Jarrett: ‘Democracy depends upon having law enforcement’ MORE put Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE on the defensive in 2008, when she argued that Obama’s plans were fantastical in the real world of Washington.”

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“A big aspirational message is more satisfying than a cramped, political one. Warren is positioning herself as Big Change versus the status quo. Yes We Can versus No We Can’t,” he added.

The Massachusetts senator appeared alongside Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) in the first of two back-to-back Democratic presidential debates this week that featured a total of 20 candidates. The race’s front-runner, former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE, appeared alongside Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook McEnany says Juneteenth is a very ‘meaningful’ day to Trump MORE (D-Calif.) on the second night.

Warren and Sanders, who are battling to shore up support among progressives in the party, teamed up in the debate Tuesday night to push back against an onslaught of attacks from more moderate candidates who argued that many of the senators’ proposals on issues such as health care and the economy would spell electoral doom for Democrats as they seek to defeat President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE next year.

At one point in the debate, Warren slammed those who might dismiss the proposals being advocated by the progressives on stage, saying, “I don’t understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for.”

Axelrod argued Friday that Warren’s “unsparing critique of corporate excess and her expansive — and expensive — agenda for change mirror those of the reigning left champion, Bernie Sanders, in places” but added that “Warren seems fresher, deeper and more precise in her execution.”

“I don’t know if Elizabeth Warren will win the nomination. Her sometimes professorial style can be off-putting and she has yet to break through with the white working class voters with whom Biden and Sanders are doing well,” he added later.

“Moreover, there are legitimate critiques of her policy on substantive and not just political grounds. But it is going to take more than what we saw on either stage this week to win that battle,” he said. “Warren has a theory of the case and is prosecuting it very skillfully.”

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