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. Mike Palevo

    President "yo mama" sits back and does nothing until it's all blown up in his face. He didn't consent to and Cut, Cap, and budget agreement, and then complains about being downgraded??? This is one of the most unreliable, Unaccountable President we've ever had. If this country votes this backseat president for a second term, I may consider another country! Michele needs to step in and tell "Yo Mama" what to do. That is just my opinion!

    August 7, 2011 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  2. PacoPup

    The facts are the facts! The Bush administration inherited a surplus and squandered it, then created the massive debt we now face with two unfunded wars, Medicare Part D, and most importantly, huge tax breaks for their wealthy cronies. Since President Obama took office in a recession, spending a bit more for economic stimulus was his only option ( those who think cutting spending in a recession is a smart thing, review history – Hoover, to be exact). The debt ceiling was raised at least 8 times while Bush Jr was in office without a peep from the Republicans. The mess we're in today is almost completely due to their stated goal of defeating this President. They don't care about the collateral damage – they will support the exact opposite of whatever Obama wants. Unfortunately for them, the average American is smarter than the Tea Partiers and they know exactly what's going on and who's to blame.

    August 7, 2011 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  3. Willy Brown

    I see the DNC has come up with a new taling point we'll here now till next year. It is going to be so much fun watching Obama and his ilk get voted out of office next November. Axelrod you sir are a loser like your boss.

    August 7, 2011 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  4. markiejoe

    It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the Tea Party is the source and cause of the current dysfunction and gridlock and inability to govern in Washington.

    My life goes back to the Eisenhower presidency, but I trace the current intransigent fanatacism and ideology-based political stubborn-ness and mean-ness back to 1994 and Newt's Contract with America. That, for me, was the beginning of the end of both parties governing for the common good. It introduced into American politics a new sign-on-the-dotted-line politician who came into the game with an a priori set of rigid principles they had signed on to, and along with that a stridency and incivility that transcended anything that had come before. For me, that marked a sea change in America, and the beginning of the end of good governance in America.

    So thank you, Newt. And oh, I see you're running for President again.

    August 7, 2011 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  5. Wing

    After seeing the extremely angry comments posted on this issue my conclusion is that we are doomed. I am sorry but I do not think I am off the mark. The poor wants to keep the government spending $$ on their social programs and the rich wants to keep the $$ from the previous tax cuts. Of course, I can understand that but that not right for everyone else .........

    I am a Republican and I disagree with protecting the rich from a tax increase in the recent debt ceiling "negotiation" and GOP was STUPID for not seeing what is needed for the country's future. Any candidate with the "tea party" label will not have my vote. Of course, I will not and have never voted for the extreme left neither. I just hope I will have a suitable candidate of my choice on the election day. I want the middle to gain. Can someone run with a moderate platform to counteract these extremist left and right wing politicans ?

    August 7, 2011 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  6. Marjee123

    So he is just repeating what S&P has already said. They blamed the fact that they did not have raising revenue in the bill to raise the debt ceiling. AND WHOSE FAULT WAS THAT - THE TEA BAGS AND REPUBLICANS. Since S&P came right out and said it, the republicans are really messing their shorts trying to blame everybody else. They're working over time over at Fox to get that message out know Fox - the 24/7 cable SHOW that is the republican infomerical channel.

    August 7, 2011 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  7. doight

    The Republicans got 98% of what their speaker wanted and then the US gets downgraded.

    August 7, 2011 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  8. dennis

    What would one expect the Minister of Propangda to say? Now that it is Presidential Re-Election Time, I'm sure Axelrod will drag out the Obama Emblem, and drop the Presidential Seal into secondary position. Afterall, they're both after a new World Socialist Government, you know take away from the honest hard working to distribute equally to all? Try visiting your local Social Security Office, and see who Obama is already distributing America's Wealth.

    August 7, 2011 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  9. Kevin

    And this is news how? The only people that don't already know this, are the ones who caused it. They will say and do anything to make President Obama look bad. I have news for you morons. It's going to backfire on you all, BIG TIME. I'll be coming back here to comment about how we've started making the changes needed to fix our broken down system on Tuesday, after the people of Wisconsin give a demonstration of what's in store for the rest of these morons come 2012.

    August 7, 2011 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  10. Dean

    Of course they will try to blame the Tea Party. The people would not stand for Obama to try to blame Bush for this, and when was the last time anything was Obama's fault. He did not want to cut spending. He just wanted to be able to borrow more to spend more. He is all about spending this country into a second rate nation. Then he can transform it into his socialistic utopia which doesn't exist and never will.

    August 7, 2011 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  11. Wesley

    If Mr. Axelrod truly thinks the tea party is part of the problem, then he is an idiot and has no business being an advisor. It is debt on top of debt. Obama and the democrats apparently just don't get it. We cannot keep going on and on. The fact is that if congress and the president had voted for deeper cuts, there would not have been a downgrade.

    August 7, 2011 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  12. Snobare

    I get a kick how the GOP/Tea Party continuously lament President Obama's spending all the while forgetting how they (the GOP) spent with a blink of eye.
    Sorry GOP/Tea Party this is your mess. Own it and move on. Hopefully 2012 will the change President Obama has been stirring the good ship GOPipop back on course.

    August 7, 2011 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  13. sick of republican phonies

    Graham will say and probably do anything necessary to placate the tea baggers that do NOT like him. Maybe you can take a meeting with them at an airport rest room, Lindsey.

    August 7, 2011 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  14. SwissCheese

    All 60 of these tea bags should be immediately recalled, impeached, and thrown out of Congress.
    The stupidest people who ever walked the face of the earth.
    Not since Richard Nixon has the GOP been so disgraced.

    August 7, 2011 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  15. dick

    who can ever take this Bozo seriously just look at him?

    August 7, 2011 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  16. David Masterson

    Originally, I was going to say several things regarding this whole story, but after reading through MANY of the comments, I find it rather interesting that those who support Axelrod (and Obama) largely have nothing more than unconsidered, unintelligent one-line "death to the tea party" type comments...and those which took the time to write more than 1 line of gibberish seem to all be going on some wild tangent with their analogies – apparently, the democratic party supporters are either terribly uneducated in the matters at hand, or they've simply run out of logical ways of supporting their elected thief...hell, the comments ended up being a better read than the article!!

    August 7, 2011 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  17. Mike

    Yeah, because it's always someone else's fault isn't it?
    Obama has never accepted responsibility for anything since he took office. Except of course if the results are positive, like him taking credit for getting Bin Laden when we all know the operation was well under way and could not be cancelled by the time he even knew it was happening.
    He is even taking credit for some of Bush's successes.
    This guy is such a joke he'd be laughable if his job wasn't such a serious one.

    August 7, 2011 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  18. LNB

    Alexrod~ yes, you are correct. No one came out under Bush as he quadrupled the debt. NO ONE~ the Tea baggers are in it to oust Obama; that is their only target. The debt was raised 19 times under Bush~ PEOPLE FORGET so easily in this country. Tea bags brought us by brinkmanship to the edge. We will all be voting again soon and out they go. They are traitors and and use terror tactics and should be run out of town on the old rusted train track rails of our defunct industry. And here's a thought: We need to raise revenue. Corporate taxes are the lowest in US history; GE paid no taxes and when they 'created jobs' it ends up being in China. Google GE and Billions invested in Xray jobs/China. And now I hear the tea baggers want to lower tax rates again. Does this mean next year GE will get a refund? Mr. Obama PLEASE speak up and defend yourself as you defend us~ those of us who voted you in. Take off the gloves...

    August 7, 2011 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    So now comes the tax increase to the American people in the form of higher interest rates and the like. All because of the GOp and there out of touch old failed idology !!

    August 7, 2011 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  20. MaryM555

    Well, We will ALL see what the MAJORITY of Americans think of the teapublicans in 2012. The tea party is going down and will take the Repubs with them. Be sure to watch the RECALL elections in Wisconsin next week.

    August 7, 2011 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  21. Brenda

    Axelrod is a political hack. S & P stated they wanted 4 Trillion in cuts. The tea party wanted that much and more...but the democrats claimed any cut would make grandma eat dogfood. if it wasn't for the tea party, we probably would have been downgraded all the way to A...because the democrats surely weren't going to stop spending.

    August 7, 2011 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  22. Greg

    Ummm this crisis was created by the BUSH administration and the republicans. Clinton left Bush with a balanced budget. When Bush left office our debt was higher than it has ever been in history, and he is one of the few presidents that went into office with a balanced budget. Which means he performed worse than any other president in history. Obama inherited this problem. Voters need to remember it was the republicans who put us in this mess. And it was the republicans who stalled and did not negotiate in this matter. Get them out of office. Especially those who are backed by the tea party!!!!!

    August 7, 2011 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  23. GP007

    Obama was handed a $1.4 trillion budget deficit. How do you cut $1.4 trillion from a budget without causing any pain? Pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan, end the Bush tax cuts and end Medicare Part D and we're back in the black.

    But I am pretty sure those expenditures are sacred cows. Perpetual war and the lowest tax rates in fifties years are non-negotiable. Am I correct?

    I know people like to lay both the deficit AND the debt on Obama, but it is a curious sort of math to be able to do so.

    I have many concerns about Obama. When there are so many things one can disagree with Obama on, making up 'facts' about Obama only undermines ones credibility and reveals them for the partisan zealot they are. In other words, wacko.

    McConnell has said this debt ceiling tactic used by the tea party is going to be a useful tool in future negotiations, and he is correct. You can not negotiate or compromise with someone that is willing to blow the whole thing up.

    The problems we face as a nation are complex, with no simple, painless solutions. Electing simpletons to solve our problems is the same as believing in unicorns.

    August 7, 2011 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  24. bj bell

    The TEA party caused this period - Mr. Obama and to his credit Mr. Boehner tried to push through a common sense 4 trillion dollar bill that would have averted the S&P downgrade - had it been done in a timely manner.

    The Tea party members are a low intelligence bunch of bigots and are the idiots of our time - they will destroy this Country if we don't wake up.

    August 7, 2011 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  25. Greg

    The government has been borrowing money from entitlement programs like social security for years. The people who paid into this are entitled to receive their benefits. We kick our senior citizens who paid into a program aside to support out people on welfare who paid into nothing? There are other programs that can and should be cut before we touch social security.

    August 7, 2011 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
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