Obama campaign chief strategist David Axelrod, left, and Senior Advisor… (Chip Somodevilla / Getty…)
With election day behind him, President Obama's top political strategist said Sunday the president enters his next political battle, negotiations over the looming fiscal deadlines, with a mandate from voters.
David Axelrod, appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation," said the president articulated his position on taxes--including raising taxes on income of more than $250,000--during the campaign and Americans seemed to agree.
"You look at those exit polls and a healthy majority of Americans agree with him," Axelrod said. "And that's certainly going to help inform these discussions."
Both the president and congressional leaders quickly pivoted this week to the looming "fiscal cliff"--the automatic tax increases set to kick in at the end of the year aong with budget cutbacks.
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House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio said on Friday that Republicans were willing to cooperate, but also reiterated his caucus' opposition to tax hikes. Instead, he stressed that closing loopholes and entitlement reform were the GOP priorities for the tax deal.
Axelrod called Boehner's Friday rhetoric "encouraging." "The speaker also said he wasn't going to get into details about what he would or wouldn't accept, he didn't want to foreclose discussions and that was a positive sign," Axelrod said.
Looking back on election night, Axelrod said the data-centric campaign was confident early on that the president would emerge victorious.
"By 8 or 8:15 that evening we were pretty confident that this race was going to be ours and it was just a matter of time, and less time, frankly, than we anticipated," Axelrod said.
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And he called Obama's Wednesday speech to campaign workers, in which the president briefly became overcome with emotion, as a "wonderful coda to a great campaign."
"I was brushing tears away myself," Axelrod said. "As were many of those young people. So when he looked at those young kids and their sense of idealism and all the sacrifices they had made, not just for him but for the kind of country that they believe in -- he really was overcome."
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