On the night of his re-election win, GOP nominee Mitt Romney called President Obama to congratulate him, except Obama was apparently irritated by the conversation. Apparently, the former Massachusetts Governor insinuated that Obama won since he was able to maximize urban turnout, which he took as code for black people. Former Obama adviser David Axelrod noted all of this in his new memoir (via Politico):
In “Believer: My 40 Years in Politics,” former senior Obama adviser David Axelrod writes that the GOP candidate implied on the call that Obama had won because of his popularity in black communities, according to the New York Daily News, which acquired an advance copy of the book.
Obama was “unsmiling during the call, and slightly irritated when it was over,” according to Axelrod.
“‘You really did a great job of getting out the vote in places like Cleveland and Milwaukee,’ in other words, black people. That’s what he thinks this was all about,” Obama said after he hung up with Romney.
The memoir, set to come out on Feb. 10, goes behind the scenes of other high-profile political relationships.
But, Garret Jackson, Romney’s former personal aide on the 2012 campaign trail, said this account is a “lie” and “ridiculous.” Jackson did mention that while there was no discussion about voter turnout, Romney’s insistence that he tackle the tough issues in his new term might have rubbed Obama the wrong way:
Jackson said Romney told Mr. Obama, "Mr. President, I want to congratulate you and your team on a hard-fought race and your victory...There are a lot of tough issues facing the country...and I hope you tackle those tough issues."
That last line is the one Jackson said may have rubbed the president the wrong way. But he said the call was short, contained no specifics about Cleveland, Milwaukee, or any other city- or county-level results. "I know for a fact" that Romney didn't have that level of detail about the election returns, Jackson said.
Romney also said, "I'm happy to help in any way," and "Ann and I will pray for you daily; you have a tough job ahead," according to Jackson.
He also told CBS News that neither Romney nor Obama were on speakerphone, so staff for neither man knows exactly what has said. Photos from that night show that to be the case.
"I just hope this lie is the work of David Axelrod and not the president. It's ridiculous. I was very disappointed they would make that up," Jackson said.
So, Jackson admits that something in the concession call would’ve upset the president. Then again, Obama hates Romney, so any words from his mouth could’ve brought on the irritated facial expressions witnessed by Axelrod.