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. Smart People


    How is spending money and losing lives for a useless war over false pretenses keeping us safe? This "Bush kept us safe" argument is wearing thin. If he had kept us safe September 11th would be nothing more than a Friday this year. Not only have we lost thousands of lives on a lie, but we also managed to anger most of the world. Regardless, I can assume from you comment that your a member of the "patriotic" right who thinks diplomacy is weakness. If you are bolstering Bush's success on foreign policy and Katrina, you obviously are not paying attention. I have been, and from where I sit, we have a president who is actually spending money on our prosperity and not on oil.

    Keep drinking the tea, so to speak.

    April 19, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    I thought dissent was Patriotic. That's what the Dems told me the past 8 years

    April 19, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  3. arithmetic is liberal

    good to see the racist dems here calling everyone else who practices the 1st Amendment a racist

    April 19, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  4. Right Leaning Independent

    I love you folks that spew your party line "where were you when Bush was increasing the deficit". My question is, where were you? If you were yelling about Bush's spending, than you are a hypocrite for saying it is ok for Obama to spend like a drunken sailor. If you said nothing about Bush's spending, than you have no right to comment on others views. Everyone needs to get past party alliances and understand that we can not out spend our means – a lesson many homeowners are learning!! The only solution in the future to pay off this spending is for the "95%" that got tax cuts to take on higher taxes above what were cut. Now that should should be interesting to see how the middle class accepts that.

    April 19, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  5. ttofast70@comcast.net

    Attention Tea-Baggers, Douche-Baggers, Red-Neck White Trash, racist pigs, Neo-cons. red-staters, in-bred, Appalacia, Sheet Wearers, War Hawks, Porn-lovin' bible thumpers, and Hillbilliys and Cowboys: I put up with your sorry asses for 8 years. You go straight to Hell or Texas which ever you get to first. Keep your f–king guns and put those where the some don't shine. You are so disgusting I could and have vomited thinking of you. Take your Confederate States and GET OUT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are morally repugnant. (I'll pause while you look that up). As an aside; I was raised in Applacia-I know what you scum bags are, what you do, and what "feeds you stupidity." Just go NOW. Take Hannity, Rush and the rest with you.

    April 19, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  6. Yvonne M. Harris

    Yes I agree with Jeff W. Where was the tea party outrage when the two Bushes were in the Whitehouse? Where was the outrage when we Americans lost civil liberties under the so-called "Patriot Act" of W. Bush? Where was the outrage when we were deceived into a war under the banner of non-existant "weapons of mass destruction"? Where is the outrage over how many trillions of dollars, and how many lives on both sides of the equation it cost because of that deception? Where was and is the outrage over how many of our sons and daughters in the military have come back maimed and wounded both physically and /or mentally because of that same deception?

    April 19, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  7. Joanna

    Well if the TEA parties were based on fact that would be one thing. But since our taxes have DECREASED for most of the country. While the rest of the 5% has stayed right where it has been for yrs, it seems kind of silly. The stimulus seems to be helping slow the once rapid decline of our economy (BTW, The dems NEVER asked for bush to be such a dud do nothing idiot who dismissed the warnings)
    To me it is just a bunch of hate mongers that want to have a tantrum because they are so irrelevant and washed up. They pray on ignorance and the ignorant seem to be following. Its pretty sad. I wish they actually fact checked what they are protesting. As a of most of them look like fools!

    April 19, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  8. Larry

    David Axelrod is the "real" President of United States--

    He is,and has been," the teleprompter" from the beginning !

    April 19, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. Scott

    Ironic that the bulk of the protesters have never made and will never make $250,000 a year and therefore will benefit from Obama tax policies. These were just angry republicans who lost an election that needed an outlet for misplaced rage!!!

    April 19, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  10. SurfBird

    Yeah Axelrod. I should kiss Obama's feet for giving me a tax cut. I think I'll retire on the extra $7.69 a week of my own money he's allowing me to keep. Meanwhile he's ringing up debt at a rate that would even shame Bush! Some of you imagine that the rest of us have the same "my team vs your team" concept you have. Millions of us are fed up with both donkeys and elephants. Neither wants to serve the people, just control us.
    Remember how just last year protest was patriotic? Now it's a lunatic fringe that should be silenced or ignored. What really worries you partisans is knowing it is real anger. Obama already has generated nation-wide protests before his first 100 days is even up. Have you noticed that firearm sales are up over 40% and ammunition is flying off store shelves? Not everyone will meekly submit to your agenda.

    April 19, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  11. Bill

    Keep trying.

    If you misdirect enough, and lie enough, and keep repeating your inanities, the fact that nearly 300,000 people took the time to protest the stupidity of the 'progressive' leadership in this country will just go away. And then you can be happy in your little cocoon of alternate reality.

    April 19, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  12. German,Irish American

    Chuck, Enlightened Voter, could you tell me what is racist about protesting the governments uncontrolled spending starting with the Bush/Obama 750 billion dollar bailout? I call it Bush/Obama because Bush spent 350 billion and Obama spent the rest when he became President. Also, why is it that if a white person disagrees with Obama's political agenda they are racist, but when 95% of the black voters vote for a black man instead of a white man that is not a racist issue? It is people like you in the Democrat party that loves to cry racism, all the while knowing that you guys are the ones that play the race card to try to keep this country divided in order to promote your agenda.

    April 19, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  13. Web

    Sometimes people are far to short sited on these issues. Axelrod said he didn't understand why Americans were angry because the president just cut taxes for 95 percent of us, but what about in 4 years or 8 years or 12 years when we have to start paying all the money back we spent? How low will taxes remain? The fact is people were angry over government spending and looked a little farther then it seems Axelrod would want them to. I do not think it is anymore damaging to Republicans then it is to Democrats because this is a problem that crosses party lines. Spending like this is irresponsible and can lead to many more problems in the future.

    April 19, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. Kevin B

    The teabag "movement" is nothing more then the easily mislead and willfully uniformed being manipulated by the weathly, i.e. fox news corporate and radio talk show elites to have middle class workers fight for the elites current tax breaks set to expire in 2010.

    It is truly scary how easily these tea bagging folks are manipulated to fight against thier own interest.

    April 19, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    For all of you who bring up the theory of Bush spending trillions of dollars to "keep us safe", would you please direct me to where you are getting your references from. Had he been more vigilant with his own administration's intelligence gathering, perhaps we wouldn't be where we are today. Unfortunately we are. Blambing our current President for all the ills of this country, while amusing, is non productive. Dragging the future well fare of our children and their children for generations to come is also non productive. We are right now paying for our parents and grandparents. I am quite happy to do so.

    April 19, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. The Teester

    Are sure its not Kool-Aid the Republicans are brewing...?

    April 19, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. James

    The original Boston Tea Party protested taxes levied without the consent of the taxed parties: No taxation without representation. Every one of those protesters this week has Congressional representation. Their so-called tea parties are making a mockery out of the American Revolution.

    April 19, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  18. Vietnam Vet

    This was not about taxes, all one had to do was look at a the majority of the signs the so call tax protesters were carrying and listen closely to what they were saying. Pure and simple, this was a veil attempt of the No Party to protest against the President. This fringe group of people who continue to not accept the fact they lost the election and to top that, to a man of color.

    April 19, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  19. PulSamsara

    "Where is fox news credility after promoting tea parties."

    The same place it was before promoting the tea parties.

    Tea Baggers – When's the next Klan rally ?

    April 19, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  20. Lynn

    Why didn't John King ask if a news media who constantly spews hate and unsubstantiated characteristics of the president of the US supporting and then hijacking a populist movement as "unhealthy?

    Once again John King carries the Republican water!!

    April 19, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  21. Larry from RI

    Brought to you incognito by Faux News and their "fat and happy" wealthy supporters who simply don't want to pull their fair share of the load!

    "Sean Hannity and Neil Cavuto boarded the bandwagon first by signing on with tax day tea parties in Atlanta and Sacramento. Now Glenn Beck will be broadcasting from the Alamo in Texas and Greta Van Susteren will party in Washington, D.C., amounting to hours and hours of rotating live coverage of the anti-tax, anti-spending events.

    "This year Americans across the country are holding tea parties to let politicians know that we've had enough," Beck said yesterday. "Celebrate with Fox News."

    How exactly is this "grass roots"?
    How can anyone say that FAUX news is news – let alone all that "Fair and Balanced" crap they have been shoveling?

    FAUX News is nothing more than a right wing political outlet for the GOP and has lost all objectivity and credibility!

    April 19, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  22. stevo

    Republicans are just blind followers. They just assume whatever FOX or Rush say is true. They are protesting high taxes? If they had a mind of their own (or at the very least listened to a news source that really was "fair and balanced") they'd realize that Obama lowered their taxes!

    If they are going to make spectacles of themselves, at least get the facts straight. They just look like fools.

    April 19, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  23. Lori

    Axelrod is right. These tea parties are unhealthy because all you see are the same angry, racist people that were at the Palin rallies calling Obama a 'fascist' and a 'socialist' (and they probably can't even define the word). If after ALL that our President has proposed the vast majority of Americans still support our President these parties of a maximum 600000 are a joke. They may get bigger, maybe reach 2 million if they're lucky but the only Americans who are 'fed up' and trump this up to a 'future uprising' are the Republicans. Look at the President's approval ratings after all this tea party nonsense- still high. Dems and rational-minded Independents are giving our President a chance to SUCCEED!!!

    April 19, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  24. Peter E

    These Tea parties are nothing more than partisan hypocrisy and complete ignorance. They want the government to lower taxes, which inevitably produces huge deficits and burden for the future generation, while at the same time also complain about the huge deficits (where were they for the past eight years, they should have protested then!) that'll burden future generations. And none of them tackle the big items in our nation's budget like medicare, social security, or military spending. In fact they say we're not spending enough on our military. They want taxcuts for themselves AND taxcuts for their children. Sorry, it just doesn't add up. Somebody will have to pay, and if you don't want your children to be the ones, it'd better be YOU who pays! Put your money where your big mouth is!

    April 19, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  25. Katakato

    That's real nice that the left try to paint everyone who protested as right-wing anti-government nuts. I guess it's OK to protest against and to exercise your 1st Amendment rights when it comes to GLBT rights, or illegal immigration, or pro-choice...but if you want to stand up for your own right to keep your own money without the gov't taking it, then somehow that's "displaced" or "unhealthy." Give me a break!

    I'm not a Republican...and I'm not a Democrat...but I did go to protest at a local Tea Party against what's going on in DC (BTW I protested against Bush's policies too) – this time more so against Congress than against the administration (Congress has the power of the purse). It's pretty remarkable to claim that 95% of people just got a tax cut (about $400 lousy dollars a year) when in fact our grandchildren's grandchildren are still going to be trying to pay off this debt.

    "If we don't respect the freedom of speech for those whom we disagree with, then we don't respect it at all."

    April 19, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
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