April 19th, 2009
11:18 AM ET
13 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. Tim

    Those who have been brought up properly realize it is immoral to take things that do not belong to you. It doesn't matter who he is taking from, it's wrong.

    April 19, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  2. ScottinSATX

    The Tea Parties were a joke. We have taxation with representation, unless of course you didn't vote last November.

    Perry needs to zip it. The Republic of Texas crap is just that. I'm American first, not Texan! We don't have time for his positioning for his, what seems like, his never ending terms in office.

    April 19, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  3. the rector

    It is hard to blame people for being frustrated into some kind protest when you consider the scope of government waste combined with corporate welfare in the trillions, and the seemingly never ending war on terrorism (what ever that means) combined with very very traditional old washington style politics that we were promised would END with Obamas election. I'm pissed too! Nobody would have predicted that Obama would give wall st. so much money and power in the form of geithners appointment or there may have been a lot less support for him last november. And now he is back tracking on his vow to leave gun control out of his agenda and has loosed hillary and holder on the second amendment, practically the only thing left intact by bush and cheney. That is not change we need it is imperialism and totalitarianism the federal government has gotten fat and unresponsive to the needs of the electorate and must be cured of its addiction to our money. The tenth amendment has recently been getting some much deserved attention and should be read by every american, it may shed light upon some things that some people don't want you to know.

    April 19, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  4. Ken H.

    Axelrod's just mad because we know that the only people who pay taxes are at the tea party. My tea party had 38 people, and we are the only ones who pay taxes in South Carolina. North Carolina had 3 tea parties, and I know for a fact that everyone in the state who pays taxes was at them. My cousin Billy and and his wife Susie are the only tax payers in Nebraska, and they told me that their tea party was great. I wish all the black democrats would shut up because they don't know what to do with our country. We need to get rid of the big bully Obama. He's had more than enough time to fix the country. The republicans were doing a great job with America- why in the world would the people vote for change??? I am the smartest man in the world, and I know better than you stupid heads! I am mad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 19, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. Flo

    Axelrod was downplaying the reality behind the tea party............yes there was folks out there against taxes and bailouts to wall street bankers but there was also the groups who used the moment to promote their anti-obamanism. That I find unhealthy and harmful to the republican party. I worry that if they stoke the fires too far some of these folks will try to plot against the president and that would start (I'm afraid) a riot in the streets.

    The president should address folks concerns about potential increase in taxes and explain the bailouts of these companies but republicans need to discourage extreme groups you are irrational and use slurs against the president before if gets out of hand.

    April 19, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  6. J

    NO one is considering that by raising taxes on big business (which in turn simply cuts even more jobs) or on the 'wealthy' that would invest in increasing employment but in turn are now moving off shore with not only their money but with their business (even more than before) and their homes. By doing all this and increasing the taxes on energy, the consumers are the ones that are effected by the increased taxes since higher taxes are always passed thru to the consumer. SO GUESS WHAT, THE MIDDLECLASS did not get increased taxes – true, but we are paying even more this way. AND don't forget, in 2010 there will be a tax increase on the middle class. It will end up being cheaper to be unemployed if this continues, since the taxes on unemplyemnt dollars will be less or none at all.

    April 19, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  7. SarahW

    One of "them"? MadinAZ, Tim McVeigh was not one of us.
    He was a barely adult loser version of a Columbine school shooter.
    An atheist, but moreover with ideas contrary to liberty and value of every individual. He was no "conservative". He was not right wing.

    April 19, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  8. Tim

    I agree with Carville. Let the Republicans have there Tea Parties. They throw their tea and complain, yet offer us no new idea's of their own. It is really exciting to watch how hypocritical they are.
    The party of NO has no new idea's, should we be surprised. Who is laughing now republicans.
    I think it is healthy for this country to watch the Republicans eating their own. Tea anyone?

    April 19, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. RS

    "...Fully 27 percent of Medicare is devoted to spending on end-of-life health (in other words, health care that doesn't work...."

    I am shocked and apalled that Mr. Feehery sees elderly people as liablilties that should be not entitled to receive medical treatment in the final stage of their life. What a sinful way of thinking.

    Unfortunately, he does not elaborate what exactly he means with a "more rational way to look at end-of-life care". Letting elderly people choose between poison pill and lethal injection? How about gas chambers?

    And while we're at it – what about all these disabled people?

    April 19, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  10. Party of yesterday

    Promoting hate is always unhealthy to actually protest on substance is worth the words but to just say taxes too high is utterly ridiculous when this is the lowest in years! Research before opening your tea bags

    April 19, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  11. Steve, Columbia SC


    You offend me with the ingorance of your comment connecting people who stood up in peacful assembly across our nation to protest the current tax and spend actions of our government to someone who on the very outer fringe, committed a violent, disgusting act against innocent people. That is how our nation was born.

    Your intolerance for their freedom is repulsive, and very un-American.

    April 19, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  12. Dace Tucson AZ

    Tea baggers are not the voice of America – they are a rabid hate filled fringe of mostly racists and religious zealots that have destroyed the GOP. They did not organize from the grass roots – it was faux news, Gingrich and lobbyist like Dick Army that paid for and organized these cowardly liars in to these fake grass root demonstrations. If they were real why would they be protesting the fact they are all getting a tax cut? There were none of the super wealthy out there protesting.

    April 19, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  13. Steve, Columbia SC

    and to Misters Alexrod and Carville,

    This peaceful and public domenstration protesting against the tax and spend habits of our President and Congress are exactly what are Constitution is all about. Your responses to and opinions of the Tea Parties around our nations refinforce my opinion of your elitism, and your total abandonment of what is great about this nation, its citizens and their right to assemble and protest against a financially intrusive and irresponsible government.

    April 19, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  14. zgomer

    It very American and Patriotic to have these tea parties in the first place, if Axeltoad doesn't like it then he can shove it, don't ask what your country can dio for you, ask what can you do for your country! read your history books you liberal morons!

    April 19, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  15. Just A Grunt

    So let me get this straight.
    La Raza organizing protests to support illegal aliens = Good for the country

    ACORN staging protests and subverting the voter registration process = Good for the country

    Various liberal groups protesting military actions in the war on terror = Good for the country

    Code Pink disrupting congress and vandalising Marine Corp recruiting stations = Good for the country

    People taking to the streets to defend the Constitution and runaway government spending and taxation = Unhealthy

    By the way many of the same people at these protests were also protesting spending by the Republicans, but the media wasn't listening. They were too preoccupied with the Cindy Sheehans of the world to give two flips about what conservatives were saying. Plenty of Republicans were getting booed at these events also.
    Don't make the mistake of confusing conservatives with Republicans.

    April 19, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  16. 4 and No More

    I'm sure last year's election confirmed for David Axelrod how gullible the general public can be. But he's pushing the limits of this when he suggests that the overwhelming reckless spending of our country's wealth and leverage of it's future from this administration so far can be made up for with a tiny tax break now.

    Any way you spin it, we are all paying for their spending spree, their ineffective bailouts and their massive government build-up. This is not why I go to work every day!

    April 19, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  17. Really???

    I am thankful for the federal tax cut I'm getting this year. What David Axelrod doesn't say is that many of us in small community are shouldering a huge tax burden because of bush programs that were ordered but not funded. I pay, Federal, State, City +, County, School, property, and a ridiculouly high sales tax. I bet there are taxes I pay that I don't even know about. ... – That was not a joke...... I would participate in the tea party just because of all that. BUT, the scary part of these tea party actions is the radicalized spin infultrating the true message. Hard working people should be careful that their tea party is not being funded by something darker and more radical....... Beware of the radical storm rising. The radical right will fight the only way they know how, with a good lie that you just might become a part of unknowingly.

    April 19, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  18. gary fortier

    I really can't believe they (Obama adm.) are so stupid (yes I can). I know it's not a good thing to say but, WAKE UP!! However, on the other side, this is what the people wanted and now it's what they're getting.

    April 19, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  19. Maggie

    Why should it be unhealthy unless it is becomes harful toi the democrats and they send hit men to disperse the party. We hav e right to express our opinions. that is what our domacracy is all about. we have freedom unles the govenrment take is away and it looks like thye would like to do that. Our voices need to be heard now. We did not get a fait election and we can speak regardless if anyone likes it.

    April 19, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  20. Texan

    I really don't understand this conservative/republican/right wing initiative to be contrarianistic/disrespectful/misguided. I don't have a problem with anyone speaking their mid – but have a legitimate point. Things are starting to improve – are "Tea-baggers" against that? We just got a tax break that we didn't under Bush – are the Tea-baggers against that? There has been assistance given to small businesses (I have benefitted), not just the large Mega-Corps that do most of their business overseas... are the Tea-baggers against that? Real solutions are being suggested and real dialogue with the world is occurring once again – are the Tea-baggers afraid of that? They need to find a different source for their talking points and rally cries.

    April 19, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. Helen J Wilson

    it shows a trend in america, when Axelrod proclaims that tea parties, where Americans can protest about taxes, bailouts or any thing else. he calls this unhealthy? What about the first amendment. Are we about to lose this right?

    April 19, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  22. J

    @JC Now that is an idea, stop paying all the house & senators retirement for life (and the other bennies they get) let them pay into social security, their own healthcare and find jobs after their 4 years of 'service' and I bet alot would change in the way government handles social security, taxes and all the spending. Because we pay these people for the rest of their lives, they have lost touch with what the working voters are really going through. Get them off the tax payers tit.

    April 19, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
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