The president’s top political adviser, David Axelrod, told CBS News that Abdullah Abdullah’s withdrawal from the Afghan runoff election was a “political decision” and that the White House would “deal with the government that is.”

Axelrod added that President Obama would make a decision on the escalation of the war in Afghanistan “within weeks.” Other topics of conversation included Rush Limbaugh’s entertainment value and the status of swine flu vaccine. — PZS

CBS / Face the Nation:

Partial transcript from CBS News:

DAVID AXELROD: Well, let me correct one thing that you said, Bob. What the president said was he wanted there to be a — an election that proceeded in the constitutional way. It — it did, in fact, many ballots were thrown out, a runoff was called. Now Mr. Abdullah has exercised his rights as a candidate to withdraw. He’s made a political decision to withdraw from this contest and — and that does not markedly change the situation.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, why doesn’t it? I mean, the thing was a fraud. The man who was opposing him said, you know, you’ve got to replace these officials who allowed this to happen — they didn’t allow it to happen. [The] United States, I guess, went along with that. Why doesn’t it change the situation?

AXELROD: Well, I think … first of all, as I said, he made a political judgment and I thought that his remarks today were rather moderate. He left open as to whether his supporters should participate in the process and he’s establishing himself as a — as a leader of the opposition.

But every poll that’d been taken there suggested that he was likely to be defeated anyway. So we’re going to deal with the government that is. Then, obviously, there are issues we need to discuss, such as reducing the high level of corruption there. These are issues we’ll take up with — with President Karzai.

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