Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod told a Des Moines Register (DMR) reporter that the newspaper’s endorsement of Mitt Romney was “confounding,” but  would not stop them from carrying Iowa.

“With all due respect to your editorial board, I think that the editorial itself was a little bit confounding,” Axelrod said on a conference call when a DMR reporter asked him to respond to the editorial.In particular, he said he disliked the DMR’s treatment of the Obama and Romney tax plans.

“There is not a lot of difference between the two candidates’ short-term economic plans, as both are heavy on a promise of tax cuts for the middle class but short on details,” The Des Moines Register editors wrote in their first endorsement of a Republican presidential candidate since 1972. “Romney’s plan, however, goes beyond helping the middle class with tax breaks.”

By contrast, the DMR said that Obama’s “best efforts to resuscitate the stumbling economy have fallen short. Nothing indicates it would change with a second term in the White House.”

“We have great respect for the Des Moines Register,” Axelrod added. But then, Axelrod reminded the reporter that the paper’s endorsement failed to stop Obama in 2008. “We soldiered on without their endorsement in the caucuses in 2008,” he recalled.

Asked how much he thought the newspaper’s endorsement mattered, Axelrod replied, “I guess we’ll find out, and we’re very comfortable with what the result will be.”