David Axelrod on Leaving ‘Partisan’ MSNBC

"I think that’s the nature of it."

Initially, David Axelrod was coy with Washington Post’s Erik Wemple when explaining what led him to leave MSNBC for CNN earlier this month.

In his explanation, the senior political commentator focused initially on what drew him to CNN, rather than what had made him leave MSNBC, telling Wemple, “CNN has really made a huge investment in covering this campaign and, you know, I think I’m a reflection of that. They wanted my expertise and wanted to offer my expertise.”

Wemple pushed further:

Was the Obama guru suggesting that MSNBC didn’t want his expertise? “I just think they had a different approach to the election,” said Axelrod, who stressed over and over that he was grateful to MSNBC and enjoyed his experience there. That said: “I think that I did not want to be simply a surrogate for the Democratic Party.” So is MSNBC a partisan outfit? “I think that’s the nature of it,” he responded.

Partisan or not, the network is returning to its hard-news roots with a spate of new daytime shows that will replace the more opinion-heavy shows the network recently cancelled.

“That is what MSNBC was created for: It was created to put NBC News in the 24/7 news business,” NBC News chairman Andrew Lack told the New York Times about the change.