April 19th, 2009
11:18 AM ET
8 years ago

Axelrod suggests 'Tea Party' movement is 'unhealthy'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senior White House adviser David Axelrod on Sunday suggested the "Tea Party" movement is an "unhealthy" reaction to the tough economic climate facing the country.

Axelrod was asked on CBS's "Face the Nation" about the "spreading and very public disaffection" with the president's fiscal policies seen at the "Tea Party" rallies around the country last week.

"I think any time you have severe economic conditions there is always an element of disaffection that can mutate into something that's unhealthy," Axelrod said.

Axelrod appeared to backtrack when pressed on whether the movement is unhealthy.

"Well, this is a country where we value our liberties and our ability to express ourselves, and so far these are expressions," he said.

"The thing that bewilders me is that this president just cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people," Axelrod argued. "I think the tea bags should be directed elsewhere because he certainly understands the burden that people face."

Democratic strategist James Carville disagreed with Axelrod on CNN's "State of the Union" when John King asked him if it's unhealthy for "an American to go out and hold a sign and say 'I think my taxes are too high.'"

Carville said, "No." He called the Tea Party movement "harmless and damaging to Republicans."

On CBS, Axelrod also responded to Texas Gov. Rick Perry's recent insinuation that his state could secede from the union in response to government overreach under President Obama.

"I don't think that really warrants a serious response," Axelrod said. "I don't think most Texans were all that enthused by the governor's suggestion."

Filed under: David Axelrod • State of the Union
soundoff (147 Responses)
  1. KW, Vail AZ

    Let's be totally honest, the so-called Tea Party was simply anti-Obama and nothing more. Few of those in attendance pay any taxes at all, most will actually see their taxes reduced (if they have jobs), and few, if any will actually see their taxes increased. These folks are being manipulated by the rich fat cats on the right.

    April 19, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  2. Len

    Yep, Democrats spend and the Republicans spent more money than any Administration in our history the last 8 years. I did not hear them at all during that time frame. Fox news, Hanity, Limbaugh, and Coulter are True Americans...They talk about Hate and Fear, terrific Americans!!!!

    April 19, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  3. Debbie

    These people are upset about the alleged ban on guns and tired of being laughed at? With April 20 coming up, anyone smell a national Columbine moment here?

    April 19, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  4. Scott AZ

    Ar least he didn't say 'let them eat cake'.

    I believe that 2010 is going to be unhealthy for the dems in power and in 2012, we will once more CHANGE the president sitting in the WH.

    April 19, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  5. tim

    The Boston Tea Party was for taxation without representation. Not about spending.

    These quote, unquote "tea parties" were bash-fests for republicans. I saw the one on CSPAN that had Laura Ingraham bashing Obama and company. It was a protest- just called a tea party.

    Do any of these people who protested have jobs? I hope they lost them. There are plenty of people out there that would give anything to have a job.

    Where is the republican alternative to spending into America? They don't have one, because the government is the only ting left holding things together.

    April 19, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  6. David

    Those participating in the TEA Parties are not nut cases. They are hard working, mainstream Americans who are fed up with FAT Governments who cater to their cronies at failing, irresponsible US companies as well as to those who feel that they can live off government for the rest of their lives. Wake up America, get back to basics, and make sure we leave something to our next generation! The DEMS (as well as the totally ineffective Republican party) are destroying the basic principles America was built on!

    April 19, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  7. IS IT 2012 YET ??

    How wrong you are Axelrod ! Nothing could be healtier – and better for the USA. Axelrod looks like a slapstick cop in a Mack Sennet movie.

    April 19, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. Kevin B

    The tea bag "movement" is a creation of the corporate elite to get the willfully uninfomed and easily manipulated to keep the rich from enduring the roll back of their tax cuts in 2010 to the 1990's levels.

    Unfortunately many of the tea baggers do not even realize they are being manipulatd against ther very own interest.

    This is truly sad

    April 19, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. Johnny DC

    Hypocrisy is only a GOP thing, right? All the angry white men who protest the change taking over this country, blah blah blah.

    What about all the black men (roughly 99.999% of them) who came out to vote for Obama, having no knowledge whatsoever of his political platform, basing their vote solely on his color?

    Everyone wants to make history. Very exciting. You call it "making history" on your side, but on our side it's "racism and bigotry".

    Liberal elitism is disgusting, annoying, and a plague we'll all have to live with for the next decade or so. Face it.

    April 19, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  10. Michigander

    Matt April 19th, 2009 11:53 am ET


    Got that America?

    Protesting wasteful spending of the goons in Washington is 'Unhealthy'.

    Bush spent money on protecting this country after attacks on American soil, helping our elderly get affordable prescription drugs and one of the biggest natural disasters to hit the country.

    No, Bush spent money on no-bid contracts to his buddies for Iraq, money that is, like HIS bailout of AIG, not traceable and not refundable.
    He was not about protecting this country...otherwise, 4200 of our soldiers wouldn't be as dead as the 100,000 innocent Iraqi citizens are right now. Iraq never attacked us!!!!
    Had he been interested in protecting us, he wouldn't have approved illegal torture and wiretapping. He would have worked within the laws of this country and the Constitution.
    The prescription drug plan has made Medicare the most wasteful government program yet.
    And Katrina? He didn't respond to Katrina, he was too busy cutting brush to worry about some levees in LA. You are aware the the FEMA trailers are unlivable, that the money is also unaccounted for, and that millions of southerners have never returned home? But "great job, Brownie."
    Obama HAS cut taxes, HAS put strings on bailout loans that will be repaid, and has tried to rein in spending. The trouble is, Bush never thought it important to pay for mandates like war spending and education, so they are woefully unfunded. Plus, Obama actually included war dollars in his budget, unlike Bush who hid them for 6 years. So go march around and whine, but your timing is questionable, since the man responsible for the mess never seemed to bother you at all.

    April 19, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  11. mark

    tea party is bunch of elitists people who don't want to pay taxes. they have a lot money to buy teas and dump them in rivers. however, we could have used those money to help our country instead of wasting them. first of all, they are not americans.

    April 19, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  12. mary

    these tea parties were so dumb. If these people put as much concentration and doing something constructive to improve their life instead of complaining it would be more effective.
    This president has done more in less than 100 days in the office than Bush did in all the 8 years.
    Also people are forgetting that it was BUSH in the office when we got attacked. Why didn't he stop the terrorists before they killed all these people.
    All Bush was a gun slinging Texan out to prove a point.
    All our young men and women died in Iraq and didn't have to.

    April 19, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  13. proud army navy mom

    John King asked him if it's unhealthy for "an American to go out and hold a sign and say 'I think my taxes are too high.'"

    what Alxerod actually said, was "I think any time you have severe economic conditions there is always an element of disaffection that can mutate into something that's unhealthy," Axelrod said.

    Possibly turning into something unhealthy, John King. Can you hear and understand or do you deliberately misstate what was said and then build your questions on the very misstatements. Are you dumb or just a tool for the rep party?

    April 19, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  14. Kregg

    I love how any kind of pride in White heritage is instantly racist... but black power is celebrated.

    yeap, no double standards there 😉

    April 19, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  15. Todd

    These people are upset about the alleged ban on guns and tired of being laughed at? With April 20 coming up, anyone smell a national Columbine moment here?

    April 19, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  16. CPO Ricker

    Is it not in the United States Constitution the Right to Assembly? If these were enviro-wackos gathering for "Earth Day" would Axeldud call that unhealthy and release a DHS report on left-wing eco terrorism coincidentally on the same day?

    April 19, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  17. Ancient River

    What is astoundingly apparent in the responses of individuals participating in the tea parties is that we need major civics educaton in this country. These individuals seem to have no understanding on hoew their government functions or how to seek change or have a voice other than through stringing tea bags on hats and fretting about taxation "without representation" We vote, we write to our congressmen, wew form acton committees to press concerns and offer solutions. That is a democracy. We pay taxes to fund our government: military, unemployement, education. It is magical and childish thinking to think we have these things from nothing. Most importantly, these poor uneducated individuals are merely being used by rightist think tanks to keep the rich rich and themselves exploited. A mere understanding of their own government, if they are capable of rational thought at all, would help them immensely.

    April 19, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  18. bob z.

    i think more working clas people will finely wake up and see obama is not for the working people.

    April 19, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. proud army navy mom

    i guess it shouldn't surprise me that the rethugs are this board are taking John King's misstated question and is running with it.,

    Repuublicans = lie, deny and criticize.

    April 19, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  20. catmom

    By the way Mike in NYC, Blacks and people of color work just has hard as you and whites. There in lies the problem, people thinking like you. What are you afraid of, a Black man turning this country around. You are what is wrong with the Republican party. People like you who seem to think that only white people can do or are doing something. It was people like you that broke this country.

    April 19, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  21. Michael

    There was an article in my local paper this morning.....one written by someone who is cut of conservative cloth.....that pretty much came to the same conclusion. He wrote that the Republicans who spoke out at these events (face it, the "Tea Parties" were anything but non-partisan) boxed themselves into a corner by digging their heals in at a time that open mindedness and consensus are the key ingredients to solving our problems.

    Just another example of a segment of our politics that has turned into the party of "NO!" and closed, inward-looking "solutions" to complex 21st century problems brought on to no small extent by right-wingnuts sticking their heads in the sand over the past eight years.

    April 19, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  22. brewmaster

    Axelrod should have the President round these people up?

    April 19, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  23. ryan

    Apparently since these are ACTUAL people protesting and not Axelrod's astroturfed sockpuppet army – this protesting MUST be unhealthy.

    April 19, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  24. darko

    He cut income taxes for 95% of Americans... and is raising all other taxes (directly and indirectly) with his multi-trillion debt bill.

    End the end, your wallet will be seeing less money at the end of the month and what is left in it will be worth half of what it is now.

    April 19, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  25. Ancient River

    Perhaps Texas should succeed. They would quickly have to start taxing their citizens much more heavily to afford the military they would need as a soveriegn nation. The majority of the US budget goes to Military spending. And then there are the federal subsidies they would no longer receive for everything from education to unemployment insurance. As a conservative state with alot of electoral votes, it would be great to loose them, too. The US could certainly pursue a more progressive course without them. And lets remember that two of the great authors of this current mess, Phil Gram, who reversed Glass Steagle and the regulations on wall street in the late 90's, and our former President Bush belong to this state. So t hey have all that great leadership to depend on, too.

    April 19, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
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