Axelrod laments 'tea party downgrade'
August 7th, 2011
12:57 PM ET
11 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. Viking

    All of you tea-partiers on here need to realize, as you are blaming Obama for everything, that S&P's analysis of what could have kept the US at a AAA rating included cutting gov. spending AND!!! raising taxes. We had to have both anyways. As Obama had the exact mixed plan of cuts S&P wanted to see, the blame stands entirely at the feet of the tea-party supported candidates who decided to take this country for an economic tailspin. Let me just remind everyone, most of those tea-backed candidates are on record that they would let the country fall into default.

    August 8, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |

    Let's see how fast Obama's numbers get into the 20's. I figure for each 100 point drop in the market ,he'll lose 1 point in approval ratings. People vote with their wallets. They had money and jobs four years ago. Now they don't. Obama and the dems pay the price in 2012.

    August 8, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  3. George Hamilton

    If you watched the Face the Nation show, you would see the "Spin Doctor" deflect every question with a campaign speech about Obama. Come on, all our elected officials are to blame for this situation. You spend more time having sports figures testify about drug use than you do about our economy. Nothing worse than politicians who answer questions with nonsense and spin. True, the Tea Party wanted deficit reduction, and stuck by their stance. Does that make them wrong, or is every other politician right?
    Obama, and his party constantly take shots at the Republicans, and yet call for BI-PARTISANSHIP. The Republicans do the same.

    The American people will re-elect these politicians time and time again. Everyone else's Congressperson or Senator is good, it's just others that aren't. The politicians know this and play the odds. Some lose, but almost all get re-elected. So whose really to blame? The voters. You get what you vote for. Plain and simple.

    August 8, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  4. Dave Jaipersaud

    I stand for Republican policies. Lets fight to cut taxes for rich people any have the suckers (middle class and poor) pay more. The middle class and poor are so stupid, they will believe anything we tell them. Let's tell them that they were paying less taxes under Republican policies during the previous Administration. They are so stupid that they will believe it and we will win in 2012. Lets keep telling them that the “made-up” fact that cutting taxes on rich people will create more jobs even though there is no hard data that supports this. Lets tell them that the millionaires will somehow become more patriotic and hire another gardener on top of the two he already has, a third pool hand on top of the two he already has, a third house cleaner on top of the two he already has. As millionaires, we already have maids, gardeners, 6 cars, 2 yachts, a stable of horses, 3 homes etc… so there is no need for us to hire more people or buy another car or house. We can lie to the stupid middle-class and poor and tell them that we will create more jobs and we can them park all of our tax cuts in our fat bank accounts and then relax and take pleasure in watching the idiots suffer. I love my Republican Party. They are the best. USA! USA! USA! USA!

    August 8, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  5. Dave

    Amazing! Reading the blinds message of Obama hate. I'm not saying he is not at fault, but this downgrade is clearly at the feet of the republican party.

    August 8, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  6. Abe

    Obama would not entertain any reforms of entitlements and only paltry spending cuts in the future while choosing to maintain curreny spending levels. This is how is became the DOWNGRADE PRESDIDENT.

    August 8, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  7. Typical TEA partier

    Just to make sure we are all clear: The TEA party representatives (who refused to support the final "deal" because it diden't go far enough) are to blame for S&P (who signaled a downgrade was coming ack in April if we didn't get the deficit undercontrol) downgrading the US because the Congress didn't do enough to get control of spending? And for you revisionists out there trying to convince everyone that the $4T deal was sabotaged by the TEA party, it was the PROGRESSIVES

    August 8, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  8. nightsun2k7

    1st not very bright person: "Hey, I've got an idea. Let's vote the republicans back in during the 2010 midterms!"

    2nd not very bright person: "Yes we should, after all Obama has had two whole years to fix
    the mess caused over the last decade. Things should be all better by now, shouldn't they?"

    1st not very bright person: "Yes they should be, and not only that but the republicans are promising that big business will make sure we have lots of jobs as long as we keep giving them massive tax breaks, even though they've been promising that for years and years and still haven't delivered."

    2nd not very bright person: "Well they wouldn't lie to us again. After all, they're the republican party. Full of warm, christian morals. They wouldn't scare us into multi billion dollar wars based on wepons of mass distruction that weren't there. They wouldn't stand back and watch while thousands of innocent people died just so they could put millions of dollars into there own pockets. They wouldn't tell us that being gay is bad while putting their penis into another man behind closed doors. They wouldn't put thousands of harmless people in prison for smoking pot while sitting back and sipping on their three fingers of scotch."

    1st not very bright person: "That's right, so let's make sure we vote for them again in 2012, cause holding the country financially hostage just to get there own way without a single care for our American citizens is ok by me too."

    Alltogether now....."Thanks republican party!"

    August 8, 2011 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  9. LiberalNN

    The Obama administration is blaming someone else for this? I'm shocked, SHOCKED

    August 8, 2011 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. Howard

    Anyone with a brain can see we can't keep going down the irresponsible spending path we have been!

    ANYONE that can call a spade a spade (Standard & Poors) is way more in touch with reality than ANY of the elected clowns in Washington or this Axelrod joke.

    Thank goodness for the Tea Partiers! Look what they accomplished last time (1776)!!! Its time to shake things up again!


    August 8, 2011 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  11. Bill in VA

    Someone said no Tea Party (though they used a derogatory term) = no downgrade. Do they really think that there would have been any serious spending cut discussion without the Tea Party movement? The simple truth is NO. We ended up with an imperfect solution to be sure but it is the Tea Party movement that got things going in the right direction. If the Tea Party had gotten their way (they didn't you will recall) we could have had more significant cuts.

    August 8, 2011 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  12. Done With You All

    soon you will be gone too and you, turbo timmy and welfare obama can sit on the road and drink your malt liquor and play dice while on food stamps and unemployment too, soon you will be gone too

    August 8, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  13. jimbo

    Ok, I would agree that the last weeks with the dept ceiling issue didn't help our problem but to blame this all on the tea party is ridiculous. Maybe just maybe that the 2 wars GW started and Obama has ramped up have something to do with this, or the fact that we are set to have a $25-29 trillion dept in 10 years with either the left of the right, or the massive health care bill that was passed in the middle of a recession helped a little. Come on people, partisan bickering isn't going to fix the problem.

    August 8, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  14. Typical TEA partier

    From S&P's statement: "The outlook on the long-term rating is negative. We could lower the long-term rating to 'AA' within the next two years if we see that less reduction in spending than agreed to, higher interest rates, or new fiscal pressures during the period result in a higher general government debt trajectory than we currently assume in our base case." I don't see "raise taxes" there anywhere. The problem is the SPENDING. Cut the spend and combine that with revenue increases from scrapping the loop-hole-ridden, special-interest-catering tax code( and cut all subsidies to businesses including Hollywood and Ethenol) will go a long way toward getting us back on tract.

    August 8, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  15. Thomas Mc

    The Brown Shirt Tearrorist Party is destroying America. Their leaders should be rounded up and thrown in Guantanamo under the Patriot Act!

    August 8, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. one party system

    Both Democrats AND Republicans are responsible for our country's situation.

    No Matter how much are politicians try to spin it to blame each other, they are solely to blame.

    They gave bailout money to their political puppetmasters on Wallstreet and in banks. Money that was OURS. They didnt ask for it either they just took it. They looted social security as well. These bastards also live richer and more decadent than ROCKSTARS all on OUR TAB. We even pay for their kids to go to college. They spend their life partying and on vacation we foot the bill. Many of us can never afford to take a vacation in our lifetime.
    They also fly in lear jets then take limos to their locations once they land..... we pay for that as well.

    So if you want someone to REALLY blame for this blame our politicians and their banker buddies for living WELL beyond their means and leaving us to pay for it all. They forced us to pay for their mistakes, and then they hijacked our country without even a shot fired.

    Its time are faux two party real ONE party system of the "I got rich by robbin the poor" to go.

    August 8, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  17. ObjectiveGuy

    Does Obama take ownership of ANYTHING that happens on his watch??? He has FAILED on every level, and does nothing but blame everyone else for his failures. His main focus seems to be his re-election campaign. I pray that the American people can see through his smoke and mirrors, and will not put him back in office.

    August 8, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  18. gt

    delusional... i know david is smarter than what putin said about america debt. interesting , and true..

    August 8, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  19. Alison

    Bill in VA... Cuts in spending isn't the only issue. S&P clearly stated that another part of the issue was there wasn't a boost in revenue (i.e. higher taxes). BOTH parties are to blame. The Tea Party sitting there saying they're going to take their ball and go home if they don't get their way didn't "get things going in the right direction". It put things at a stand still.

    August 8, 2011 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
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