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. John Dillane

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME ! If the TEA PARTY had not been trying to get these morons to do something about cutting spending ALL the agencies would have downgraded us. In care you forget Obama and his cohorts wanted NO CUTS IN THE SPENDING and only from pressure from TEA PARTY members did the Republicans force them to agree to the small cuts they did make. The NERVE of David Axelrod to imply it was done because o the Tea Party. If the Tea Party had gotten their way, we would hvae had NO downgrade for sure. If the ignorant sound bite idiots believe this, then this country is hopeless

    August 7, 2011 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  2. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Axlerod is absolutely right on this. The tea party extremists and Grover Norquist held a gun to the spineless members of the republican party and they put re-election above the American people. They should all be voted out of office in 2012!

    August 7, 2011 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  3. Jack V

    When these wild eyed Obama haters learn to spell then maybe I can take them seriously. Why is it we never heard a peep from these fiscally conservative types years ago?

    August 7, 2011 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  4. chris

    Well, I can see that the majority of Americans agree with Axelrod. The Repubs and the tea party are to blame for this mess. Boehner got 98% of what the tea party wanted. Then the tea party is to blame for causing this mess by holding the debt ceiling hostage. THe righties can spin this all they want, but facts are facts. I am sure these facts and more will come out in the 2012 elections.

    August 7, 2011 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  5. hilroy

    Unfortunately, they the TP will destroy the great nation of the United States. It is sad to see that this has happened for the first time to the US. Where were these devils before the last election? No one in their right mind would be surprised given the antics and politics of the TP that with a black President this has happened. Look back to 2009, remember the placards with the disgraceful racial messages? Pray for the great country called the United States and save it from the lunatics.

    August 7, 2011 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  6. Rob

    Steffie, great way to keep the rhetoric peaceful. You compare politics to a "blood sport"? How long until your kind of thinking gets us an emporer who throws the good and peaceful people into a coliseum as payback or for entertainment.

    August 7, 2011 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  7. Sandy

    I love how the Republicans try to blame Obama when S&P specifically states "brinkmanship" and no "revenues" as key reasons for the downgrade.

    Bye bye Tea Party!

    Obama 2012!

    August 7, 2011 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  8. Old Artillery Man

    The republicans control the House. There is a minority of so-called Tea Baggers in the house that control the republicans. They have fantastic sounding bumper sticker solutions to all our problems. But these solutions have no connection to the real world.
    However, they have demonstrated that they will force this nation to default on its debt to get what they want. This is like you and your other half going to the bank and asking for a loan. In talking with the banker one of you, say “If the other half won’t let me do want I want to I will not pay you back.” Do you think you would get the loan? What you are saying is that if I do not like something I will not pay my debts, not because I cannot but because I will not. In the report reference is made to this and the Bush tax cuts still being in effect
    McConnell is already talking about how this will be standard procedure for debt ceiling raises in the future.

    August 7, 2011 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  9. Rob

    Sure, "Captain Edward John Smith" Axelrod. Blame the iceberg.

    August 7, 2011 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  10. SNAPPA

    It's truly amazing how some on this post are simply idiotic. President Obama and the democrats had NOTHING to do with this mess. It was, is and will forever be a republican cause. There was NO reason to link the future budget with the debt limit rise. Niether had anything to do with the ohter. However the lack of knowledge is telling, you can imagine President Obama as being the cause and you'd be wrong. The debt limit has been raised mnay, many, many, many times with no attachments and no arguments. It's a necessary fact of life that it needs to be done, but this time the republicans decided to hold the country hostage until they got what they wanted. No better than the terrorists who kidnap people for ransom. FACTS ARE FACTS no matter how you phrase your words. The debt limit deals with paying bills already incurred, the budget deals with future spending. This mess was caused by Boehner, Cantor and those that enjoy grandstanding. The American people know exactly who is to blame.

    August 7, 2011 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  11. Yeah Right

    Axelrod is 100% accurate. The debt ceiling should have been raised as per normal process. Anything outside that should have been handled between the parties on debt reduction. To hold the US economy hostage like the tea party did was the biggest blunder this country has ever seen. Farewell Tea Party. Reagan raised the ceiling SEVENTEEN times, Bush EIGHT and the GOP never had an issue doing in until a dem was in office and the GOP was crying

    August 7, 2011 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  12. Brett

    Moderates 2012

    August 7, 2011 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  13. letmay8

    The Tea Party came about because this country has been fiscally mismanaged for decades and more so in Obama's 2 year stay in office. It is about time a influential group comes to put a stop to these fiscal abuses. If it is to make America more fiscally strong for future generation, let it be. If it has to be the Tea Party who can do it, let it be.

    August 7, 2011 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  14. Bill

    That's right David, blame the tea party for all of the ridiculous spending on your watch. How about you guys take some responsibility for YOUR actions as an administration. Be prepared for the accountability part of your job come Nov. 2012. You and the boys will be gone.

    August 7, 2011 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  15. NotSilentMaj

    Sorry Axelrod, but people with a brain (and there's more of us than you think) don't believe a word you say anymore. Your polling shows it to be true. The massive debt increases with no end in sight are what made S&P downgrade us. We need real deficit cuts, not the fart in the wind cuts the dems would allow.

    August 7, 2011 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  16. booyah1

    I am an Independent i vote for the person i believe has the best ideas not the party they belong to, This president maybe the worst in history . I just can not understand how any remotely intelligent person can believe that our president is doing a good job. it just makes no sense.3 Wars,record debt, record unemployment,racial divide,class divide all things that he has made much, much worse 3 years after taking office. When will he take responsibility for anything that is going wrong ?People that believe in the president must also believe in the tooth fairy and the easter bunny. He has not done anything but lie and spin the truth even before taking office. Please,Please, do your own research and quit believing anything the president and the other liberals are putting out there.
    The debt ceiling deal is horrendous and does nothing, that is why the U S has been downgraded. S&P knows this and downgraded us accordingly. We WILL be 24-27 trillion dollars in debt in 10 yrs if nothing else changes. The republicans tried to pass cut,cap,balance and the president and the dems said don't bother, we are not going to quit spending.
    Google the Mack/Penny bill and check it out. The bill freezes spending at the current levels and cuts 1 penny out of every dollar the Govt. spends. The budget would be balanced in 8 yrs. Neither party pushed the bill because they really don't want to fix the problem unless they think it will benefit them. The republicans talk about what they are going to do then don't once they get in office so that makes them liars.The dems just say what they think the voters want to hear then when they get in office they don't try to do what is right they say screw you i know whats best for you,trust me. Axlerod is an idiot .MACK PENNY BIILL

    August 7, 2011 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  17. Ibamaliar

    The problem being is that Obama supporters don't have the sense to realize that it was their man Obama that caused the downgrade. They the party,of, "BLAME", are giving theTea Party way too much credit. But if it is to be, we will accept it and fly with it. All it will accomplish is to bring in more members into our organization for the people know we are the party of the Constitution and are Patriots under God we trust.

    August 7, 2011 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  18. Bush started the fire; Obama's trying to put it out and the Tea Party . . .

    Keeps pouring on the gasoline.

    Burning down the house. . .

    August 7, 2011 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  19. RonAL

    So if my wife and I spend more money than we take in and the credit agency lowers our rating, we get mad at them and blame anyone that tried to tells to stop spending so much. The tea party folks did what they were elected to do, they went to Washington to stop the excessive spending and now they are "terrorists". Democrats are a sad bunch, and Obama is a one term president.

    August 7, 2011 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  20. paul

    The teabaggers and the GOP are responsible for the downgrade due to their intransigence at raising the debt ceiling and Taxes on the Rich. I've never seen such ill will on the people especially the Middle Class by a political party. They only represent Big Business and the Rich and no one else. Then you have Grover Norquist and his pledge to take away the voter's right to their representatives. Treason.

    August 7, 2011 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  21. realmike

    So full of excuses, so short on solutions. Repubs are always going to lean to the right and dems to the left. The real problem is a lack of leadership on both sides and especially in the white house. I could careless if a different democrat takes the whitehouse or a republican, but captian blame it on everyone else, bush, tea party, republican, racism,..., needs to go.

    August 7, 2011 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  22. MrBig

    The tea party chose to make the debt ceiling a political football. Now we have the tea party downgrade. Thanks a lot wingnuts.

    August 7, 2011 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  23. A Kickin` Donkey

    It is amazing to listen to these Tea Party defenders.

    The fact that Axelrod`s words have them in such a lather is indicative of how afraid they are that the public knows the truth.

    Kind of hard to absolve the Tea Party of responsibility when S&Ps own report chalks the downgrade up to Washington`s inability to work together. The fact that the [ea Party actual voiced DEFAULT as a possibility is what pushed this over the edge. DEAL WITH IT your blind partisans.

    August 7, 2011 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  24. Silent MajMan

    I I personally do not agree with this at all. However, even if you do, surely you can see that finger-pointing to a 'fringe' group as the sole particular cause of a near-default by our government is a stretch. If in fact they are a small loud group, how the heck can they have so much influence? If they are a large enough group to influence the government, perhaps they are bigger than you thought, and in this country, last time I checked – majority rules. The Tea party is not the majority of Americans, but even though I disagree with him, I certainly listen when Harry Reid speaks, because, although he does not represent the majority of Americans either, he obviously does represent a significant enough number of my friends and neighbors that makes what he says of interest to me. Axelrod and those who think like him would do well to find out exactly what the Tea-Party IS saying, and who they REALLY are – rather than pander to the sensationalist i d i o t s at NYT and WP. Wondering why things seem so polarized? Start with this chump.

    August 7, 2011 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  25. Anthony Antin

    Not very long ago, but apparently already forgotten, is the fact...FACT...that S&P was hand-in-crooked hand with the Wall Street salesmen of subprime mortgages, bundled and called bonds AND given triple A ratings by this so-called impartial rating agency. If S&P was a commercial conniver then, why is it not a political conniver now! Who should care what S&P says. Can anyone name me a safer bond than that sold by the USA? And at interest rates so low it keeps me from buying them, much as I, at my age,would like, and should, put my whole nest egge into interest paying paper.

    AND, writing about short memories, it's amazing how the Republicans/Tea baggers get away with forgetting that Reagan and WBush were the ones who started piling up astronomical deficits.

    August 7, 2011 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
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