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

    Truly tragic the damage that Obama and his friends are inflicting on the world. Truly tragic.

    August 7, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  2. The Day of Financial Reckoning is HERE – The Great Democrat Welfare Society Ends

    So the problem was with the only group serious about solving the debt crisis and NOT Obama and the Democrats who have run up $4-5 TRILLION of debt in 2.5 short years and set us up for another $10-14 TRILLION in debt down the road??? He must think the American people ar complete morons. Liars like this in government positions are downright dangerous to the future of the country. 2012 can't come soon enough.

    August 7, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. dd

    I agree completely with axelrod. also to mr graham our president did put 4 trillion on the table in which you all walked away from. that will not be forgotten by the people

    August 7, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  4. a in austin

    Boehner's pandering to the tea party as well as those who vocalized for default led to this downgrade. Read the report. Its time for elected officials to pander to the voters, not to the party or the pledge pushers.

    August 7, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  5. MAC

    Axelrod with Obama helped create the 26 trillion dollar deficit America will have in ten years!!! That is if the spending cuts really happen, which I'll believe it when I see it, otherwise the deficit will be over 28 trillion dollars!!!!

    August 7, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  6. Brad

    The only defense Democrats have is to blame someone else.

    August 7, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  7. Hammerer

    Have you noticed that everyone in the world is wrong except Obama?
    The only adult in Washington is blameless. But he does not point fingers – does he?

    August 7, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  8. GI Joe

    Remember Boner bragging "I GOT 98% of what I WANTED".

    AFTER he walked out on a deal for over $4 trillion cuts and $1 trillion revenue from closing loopholes.

    Remember it for a Looooonnnnngggg time, people.

    August 7, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  9. Tea Party Mike

    Axelrod is a bold faced lier, has always been.
    He knows that the S & P has stated that one of the reasons for the down grade is that the deficit reduction in the debt ceiling billis not adequate, more is needed.
    If Republicans had not attempeted to solve this issue by attaching defict reduction to the debt ceiling, S & P would have still issued the down grade and we would be over 2 trillion farther from a solution.
    Statements like this from Alxelrod prove the Democrats are not interested in solving the debt and deficit crisis.
    If the Republicans and the Tea Party had given a clean debt ceiling increase, the S & P would have sill issued the down grade. That is what the Democrats wanted, clean debt ceiling increase with no defiict reductiion.
    The down grade is because the two parties could not agree on a large enough deficit reduction, not because the Tea Party wanted one. It is because of the Tea Party that there was any effort at all to solve or nations very serious debt problem.
    Time for Democrats to stop with the lies and either get on board or get out of the way.

    August 7, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  10. g.c.kells

    Let's all blame the tea party. It's obviously not the fault of the people who refused to listen to the only proposals that would have averted a credit downgrade. It must be the fault of the group that advocated acting responsibly. Every single time a Republican administration asked to raise the debt ceiling Democrats tried to block it, and used their votes as political leverage. Is it the Republicans fault that they are better at using political leverage, and that Democrats refused to listen to reason. The democrats and the republicans made demands, and they both said that some of those demands were non-negotiable. In the end they both had to compromise, and the compromise failed. If the Dems got everything they wanted, we would still be downgraded, and sinking in a quagmire of debt. If the Republicans got everything they wanted, we wouldn't have been downgraded, and we would have a clear path out of that quagmire. It's painfully obvious whose stubbornness caused this, and it certainly isn't the tea party or the GOP. I am not affiliated with either party, but in 2012 I will be voting predominantly Republican, in fact I doubt I will cast another vote for a Dem until they get their liberal extremist faction back in line. The blue dogs were the last hope for that failing party, and the stubborn all or nothing leftists drove them out.

    August 7, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  11. Mike Mancini

    more blame-game nonsense rather than any attempt at responsible leadership. both parties are100% at fault. meanwhile the ~50% that pay taxes continue to get ripped off....

    August 7, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  12. addon

    Mr. Axelrod, you are 100% correct. The entire world saw a group of people, whose only interest is the failure of Obama's presidency, and if the entire U.S. economy went with it, the tea freaks were ok with that. All the money we saved in spending cuts, just turned into higher interest rates...You unamerican idiots

    August 7, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Dear Mr. David Axelrod – YOU have it worng sir! Speanding habits and a huge amount of debt at reasons for a downgrade.

    As a repblican, I wish they would have included some tax increases on those over say 250k/year to help on the revenue side, but spending like we have been is what caused the downgrade......... Period.

    Remember – there are those that earn interest and those that pay interest – it's not that complex.

    August 7, 2011 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  14. Ed

    You are way off base your party and Obama doesn't know how to stop spending.

    We don't want money to be spent we don't have can't you get that.

    Balance the budget, term limits, and stop all the free giveaways we are tired of it.

    I want all of you to held accountable for your stupind spendings habits.

    Stop the spending and bring back jobs to America the same way we lost them match the tax breaks other countries are giving them.

    When you want to tax a business like 30% and they can go to another country for 15% match it.

    Thirty percent of nothing is nothing can't you guys get it 15% of 30 billion is 4.5 billion better than nothing wake up.

    Stop opening up more trade to other countries that will put our made in USA companies out of business. You are trying to do that now with New Balance shoe company.

    For the sake of our country stop.

    August 7, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  15. Debra From Georgia

    He is telling the truth, the Tea Party held our country hostage

    August 7, 2011 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  16. m.d.j.b.l.

    S&P downgraded because our spending is outrageous. We cannot collect enough money to turn this around if we took every penny from everyone paying taxes right now (over 40% of Americans don't pay at all). It was the Tea Party Patriots who passed cut, cap and balance and that would have saved us. It was Axelrod and his party that insisted on continued, unsustainable spending and IT IS THEIR POLICIES that brought on this disaster. It is important to acknowledge this or we will never turn things around.

    August 7, 2011 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  17. ingrid

    If we listened to the tea party...we would be in even worse shape than we are now. Down with the tea party.

    August 7, 2011 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  18. Mike

    It's amazing, the extremists in the republican party despise Obama so much that they are willing to do real damage to the country, short and long term, to make sure he's not re-elected. This latest drama and the ongoing lies and hypocrisy of the right have made one thing certain... I will do whatever I can get Barak Obama re-elected and to return the democrats into the majority party in the House of Representatives.

    August 7, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  19. The Choobs

    Yes, the Tea Party didn't help, and Obama didn't lead, but Bernie Sanders (Sen, I-VT) has it right: "I find it interesting to see S&P so vigilant today in downgrading the U.S. credit rating. Where were they four years ago when they, and other credit rating agencies, helped cause this horrendous recession by providing AAA ratings to worthless sub-prime mortgage securities on behalf of Wall Street investment firms? Where were they last December when Congress and the White House drove up the national debt by $700 billion by extending Bush's tax breaks for the rich?"

    August 7, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  20. mike merlo

    Blaming a group thats been existence for around 3 yrs for decades of accumulated malaise is pretty weak. If this is the best Axelrod can offer up then the President should seriously consider demoting him.

    August 7, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  21. clark1g

    what an idiot and true politician in the worst sense of that term! The administration has increase our debt by 40% in just a couple of years and refuses to implement meaningful cuts in federal government spending. the S&P warned them of the credit downgrade if they didn't reduce the debt by 4 trillion ... and so they chose to implement a 1.5 trillion dollar reduction in the increase (not a reduction in actual debt). the US deserves the chastisement it is and will receive.

    August 7, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  22. blue

    Finally, someting has happened to bring the GOP to its knees. They were so focus in bringing down our President that they forgot to save themselves. Lesson learned the hard way. Minority Leader and House Leader did you get what you wanted? This country will pay for years thanks to Bush/Cheney, and the GOP and Tea Party that is now trying to get thier way or the highway.

    August 7, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  23. NC

    obama and his liberals are also to blame for their hopey changey spending spree. The Tea Party is to new of a party to have made this mess. Sorry axelrod, this is your guys mess. 😉

    August 7, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  24. sunbum

    Does this administration take ownership of anything? They are so busy finger pointing that they forget they have been steering this ship for 3 years now...

    August 7, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  25. Joshua Ludd

    Well, the truth is our rating was downgraded because of the time it took to raise the debt ceiling, and it took so long because Republicans wanted to use the occasion to play politics rather than go for a clean vote. Most of us can agree that we do need to cut spending, but this is not the way to go about it.. and if you really believe this was a principled stand by the Republicans, just remember how they were so uninterested in fiscal discipline under Bush as well as their current unwillingness to cut corporate welfare for private jet owners and the oil industry.. the most profitable industry the planet has ever known.

    August 7, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
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