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Axelrod: 2012 will be 'titanic struggle'

MANCHESTER, NH -- President Obama's former senior adviser and campaign strategist David Axelrod acknowledged this morning that the 2012 presidential election will be an uphill battle for the incumbent president facing a struggling economy and high unemployment.

"This is going to be a titanic struggle," Axelrod told about 200 people at a Politics & Eggs breakfast at New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College. "But I firmly believe we are on the right side of the struggle."

"In 2008, we had the wind at our backs," Axelrod admitted. "Now, we don't have the wind at our back. We have the wind in our faces, because the American people have the wind in their faces."

Axelrod blamed Republicans lawmakers in Washington for taking partisan lines and preventing Obama from accomplishing major initiatives.

"We honestly thought when we got to Washington, we'd get some cooperation from folks across the aisle," he said.

He then called the current field of GOP presidential candidates “the most ideological, partisan group of Republicans in my lifetime."

Axelrod specifically highlighted the Republican presidential debate last week, when a handful of audience members booed a gay soldier from Iraq after he posed a question about the repeal of the military’s "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy.

“Not one person on that platform, not one candidate was willing to say, ‘Don’t do that. It’s inappropriate to boo someone who’s risking his life for our country, who’s serving our country honorably.'"

As for Obama's chances against current Republican front-runners Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, Axelrod forecasted a "contest between economic visions and values."