Axelrod laments 'tea party downgrade'
August 7th, 2011
12:57 PM ET
3 years ago

Axelrod laments 'tea party downgrade'

(CNN) - President Barack Obama's chief re-election strategist on Sunday blamed Standard & Poor's downgrade of the United States' credit rating on tea party conservatives who made raising the federal debt ceiling a political issue.

"This is essentially a tea party downgrade," David Axelrod told the CBS program "Face the Nation." "The tea party brought us to the brink of a default."

Axelrod, who left the White House earlier this year to focus on Obama's 2012 campaign, said the country was pushed to the financial brink by some conservative Republicans.

"It was the wrong thing to do to push the country to that point. And it's something that that should never have happened," Axelrod said. "That clearly is on the backs of those who were willing to see the country default, those very strident voices in the tea party."

However, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham pushed back, saying that proposals from members of the tea party movement could have prevented the S&P downgrade.

"If we'd listened to the tea party, we'd have $4 trillion reductions in debt over time and not been downgraded," the South Carolina senator said on the CBS program. "The tea party hasn't destroyed Washington; Washington was destroyed before the tea party got there."

Axelrod also blamed politics for the S&P move that demoted the United States from its AAA rating to AA+ Friday.

"They made an egregious analytical error here, but theirs was largely a political analysis, and that is what we should focus on," Axelrod said of S&P. "We made some progress in the compromise that was struck on the debt. What we're saying is we have to make more progress."


Filed under: David Axelrod • Debt • Deficit • Tea Party movement
soundoff (594 Responses)
  1. Lindsey

    Axelrod is a goofball! If the Tea Party had its way there would have been no downgrade of American debt. In fact the reverse would have occurred because big cuts to our entitlement programs and a balanced budget were exactly what rating agencies were looking for. Anyway, in 2012 things will change again! As the song says, We Won't Be Fooled Again! No more Obama!

    August 7, 2011 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  2. Positive

    The behavior of the Tea Party is this whole process has been reprehensible!

    Their lack of understanding of the result of their "let America default" stance and the ridiculous "no tax EVER" defense of tax cuts for the wealthy along with the immature stance that compromise is a bad thing created this mess. And that isn't just me saying it – that sums up what S&P said.

    No, they didn't create the deficit – we can thank the last group of "deficits don't matter " Republicans for most of that - but they took a bad situation and made it much, much worse.

    August 7, 2011 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  3. Judas

    Sen. Graham was, at one time, the voice of reason and moderation in a party of shrill hard core extremists. Now, he’s sold his soul and integrity like his good friend John McCain did just to save his own political hide and get reelected. He knows the bible thumpers in South Carolina aren’t happy with him, and that Jim DeMint and his band of flying monkeys are going to be gunning for him in 2014 unless he falls in line and becomes another rubber stamp drone for the wingnuts. Medical science though will be pleased to discover that missing a backbone apparently doesn’t hinder ones ability to speak.

    August 7, 2011 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  4. scott

    The Obama downgrade is the rsult of teh president not leading on the debt. Having Axlerod, Kerry, etc. call it the tea party downgrade is not a viable strategy for solving the debt problem or getting re-elected in 2012.

    Yes we can has turned into oh no he didn't.

    August 7, 2011 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  5. Page Mauck

    What do the folks on this board agree on?

    The debt is a big problem – we differ on who is to blame.

    We need to cut spending in general – we differ on what to cut.

    We differ on taxes – we all want business to do prosper- it is what has driven us to where we are. A lot of us own or work in one – I do.

    We need a new vocal majority that wants series debt reduction.

    We want a ratio of at least 2:1 cuts to tax increases.

    We want all major – social security – medicare/medicaid/defense cut

    All special forces fully funded – many troops all over the world brought home – Why are we in Germany?

    We'll talk tax reform – let's simplify the crap out of it. I am for the 250,000 roll back to Clinton top rate – 800 billion I think over 10 years?

    The folks I know in Va. think a lot like this and we're salesmen, builders, people who really work for a living – janitors, construction workers.

    Not sure there's much reason left when I read this stuff – glad the people I know aren't hateful like that.

    Peace.

    August 7, 2011 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  6. Gerald Cline

    The Dems and Obummer have not done anything wrong. Right... The facts are what they are. Wake up you libs, Obummer and his buddies have created this economic disaster with excessive spending and one bad decision aftyer another. He is nothing but a failed community organizer. 2012 will either see this country headed back in the right direction or it's down the tubes for the U.S. I just hope we can hold things together until 2012.

    August 7, 2011 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  7. Michael

    So Lindsey Graham says Tea Party could have saved Washington. Um Obama and Boehner had $4 trillion in cuts, but the Teabaggers didn't like the plan because it was a compromised plan. Plus, the Teabaggers refused to raise the debt ceiling, which S&P insisted was critical and would have caused a credit downgrade as well. So obviously ... Teabaggers not a solution.

    August 7, 2011 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Axelrod, YOU SO DUMB.. The Whitehouse done it there self, wasting our money, why don't you let us deside the budget on the ballet. Like free trade, going to war and then we are paying to rebuild it. (((( YOUR PAY )))) Put on the ballet and let us vote.. Yeah, thats what I thought...

    August 7, 2011 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  9. Arun

    You go David!! The repuges and tea party is a bunch of folks that are run by big business who enjoy tax write off after tax write off until they don't have any taxes to pay!! I'm not a fan of unions, but I do believe folks have the right to be part of one if they wish. It's ok for the rich and corporations to form partnerships to take down the economy while they make billions, but how dare the working people form a group to protect their rights!! If you are married and make less than $250 combined or $200 filing individually, or if you are a minority, you are an idiot for voting for the party of idiots and racists!! VOTE OBAMA in 2012. By the way, this is coming from an idnivual who might have voted for McCain in 2000, before he flipped on all of his ideals, because I felt he was middle of the road!!

    August 7, 2011 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  10. MaryM555

    Boehner himself said that Republicans got 98% of what they wanted out of the debt deal. Amazing that 2% somehow makes it entirely Obama's fault.
    Obama warned repeatedly that if the Republicans plan was followed, S&P would downgrade the country's rating. But everyone on the Right accused him of fear-mongering and telling lies.
    Obama offered 4 trillion in tax cuts. But the Republicans rejected it because it included increasing revenue. The GOP came back with only 2 trillion in tax cuts – then had the gall to accuse Obama of being the financially irresponsible one.
    The S&P specifically points to the debt debacle for the downgrade. They cite two factors. First, not coming up with a viable plan to address the deficit – one that includes both spending cuts and revenue increases, not just spending cuts alone. Second, having a dysfunctional government owing to a faction that refuses to compromise or cooperate.
    In other words, the downgrade is all the fault of the Tea Party

    August 7, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  11. izzy

    WOW – it took Axlerod to figure out how bad the tea bag party is for us – but thanks for pointing it out.

    August 7, 2011 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  12. JJ

    Teabagger Terrorism. Might as well tell them to take off the diapers and wrap them around their heads.

    August 7, 2011 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  13. 5041360

    when the head of S&P identiies the republican party and its so called leaders as thseof the prime reasons for the downgrade the tea party is included. Mkitch McConnell stated that he would vote against liftiing the debt ceiling because it would affect the elections- eric cantor has inivestments the would pay $$ if the debt ceiling was not approved.– the tea party freshman have theiir problems dead beat dads, high credit card bills, hatred of women etc. tea party is the extremest part of the republican party- they support racism , guns and violence. hopefully they will destroy each other

    August 7, 2011 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  14. Dave

    It is totally amazing how quickly the Democratic Party and Obama Administration starts pointing fingers at everyone but themselves for their failed attempts to run this country. Look guys, Bush has been gone for neary 3 years now, you have had 3 years to introduce improving changes and all I see out of your HOPE AND CHANGE now refered to as HYPE AND CRINGE campaign promises is total failure. I have yet to see anything of an imporvement, other than your time in office is drawing to a close.

    August 7, 2011 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  15. wow obama blames someone else, again

    to bad obama cant be a man, a real man accepts the blame when he causes the problem, so it looks as obama is just like the trash that he associates with, so blame the Tea Party, who Else, Hmm Bush, Hmm the Bible and Gun toters in PA, hmm The American people, Hmmm Maybe a real man would accept it but obama and his administration only accepts the fact that they always LIE and Cry like babalies, oh its not me, its them , I didnt do it, its them, Well We THe Tea Party and We The People are coming for you, so beware, you and your like will fall. Hope you like unemployment amd food stamps.

    August 7, 2011 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  16. Chumlee

    Steffie you are 100% correct. I need the President to defend himself. Don't walk the middle line man. Make the changes you spoke about. Stop this nonsense of working with the GOP- they are nuts.

    August 7, 2011 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  17. MidWay

    Lack of compromise is what caused it. A balance approach that included tax increase and resulted in at least $4T in debt reduction would have helped. We know who prevented that and who held the nation hostage. TParty wanted us to default so they definitely wanted this downgrade. So who else should we blame.

    August 7, 2011 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  18. Dave

    Thre is no defense for incompetence.

    August 7, 2011 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  19. Johnny Five

    The Tea Party didn't get us into debt. Totally NOT the Tea Parties fault. It's Americans fault for not stopping spending 30+ years ago.

    It's ALL OUR FAULTS. Let's correct our wrongs. That's all we can do now.

    August 7, 2011 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  20. David

    Just easier to blame someone else rather than man up to the decisions that brought us here isn't it.

    August 7, 2011 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  21. Estevan

    There will be no job recovery until the Tea Party stops opposing legislation to close the tax loophole that allows U.S. corporations to deduct the expense of off shoring American jobs! I do not understand why when the United States is over 14 Trillion dollars in debt, the Tea Party demands that we continue to give tax breaks to U.S. Companies so they can write off on their Federal Income taxes, the cost of off shoring American jobs overseas to countries like China, Costa Rica and India. When is the U.S. Taxpayer going to stop paying for U.S. corporations to offshore American jobs so that jobs can start being created here in America? When we the voters force the Tea Party out of office.

    August 7, 2011 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  22. Chipster

    Those of you who keep saying this downgrade was due to Obama are correct. He should have employed the 14th Amendment, raised the ceiling, and told the GOP/TP to pack up their toys and go home! S&P announced quite clearly that the downgrade was due the lack of any option in the debt ceiling agreement to generate new revenue. It's incredible that the Tea Party is supporting tax loopholes and continuing to offer rewards for industries that export our jobs. They talk about responsibility but don't seem to know the meaning. They refer frequently to the Constitution but appear to have no clue what it says or means. We seriously need to return Civics lessons to our schools!

    August 7, 2011 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  23. Estevan

    There will be no economic recovery until the Tea Party stops opposing legislation to close the tax loophole that allows U.S. corporations to deduct the expense of off shoring American jobs! I do not understand why when the United States is over 14 Trillion dollars in debt, the Tea Party demands that we continue to give tax breaks to U.S. Companies so they can write off on their Federal Income taxes, the cost of off shoring American jobs overseas to countries like China, Costa Rica and India. When is the U.S. Taxpayer going to stop paying for U.S. corporations to offshore American jobs so that jobs can start being created here in America? When we the voters force the Tea Party out of office.

    August 7, 2011 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  24. lalinea

    Axlrod or more like broken car axlrod, this administration taxi cab that can't roll! The debt load is too much for the axlrods to bear. They need to address that debt load like the TP were hoping for cut out some of these non paying (entitlements) passengers!

    August 7, 2011 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  25. Dave

    It's kind of intersting to see how may times the Obama administration blames the TEA party for things. Well guess what , they are elected representatives as well and represent the wishes of the people they represent. They are not freeloaders, they have as much right to their opinion and actions as the Republicans or the Democrats. This is a democratic society so everyone has the right to voice an opinion and if enough of the voters vote the say way it is judged as a legal election.

    August 7, 2011 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
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