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. steve williams

    So a group of US citizens called the Tea Party, who think the President is incompetent and Congress is incapable of running a government or balancing a checkbook are to blame for our country's credit rating being downgraded. The President and Congress are totally responsible for it, everyone of them and Obama's inner circle. They should all be replaced with imbeciles; it would be a vast improvement.

    August 7, 2011 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  2. William

    Mr. Axelrod is wrong. It was not the tea party's fault. It was the Republican party's fault because they are afraid of the tea party segment of the Republican party. The tea party blackmailed the Republican party.

    August 7, 2011 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  3. The Day of Financial Reckoning is HERE – The Great Democrat Welfare Society Ends

    Yes the Tea Party is the new Democrat boogie man now that they can't (but still do) blame George Bush for THEIR massive failures. Did THEY run up these massive deficts and debt? NO. Did THEY create the $14.5 TRILLION in current debt? NO. Have THEY proposed the ONLY REAL SOLUTIONS to the problem? YES!!

    If this country under the non-leadership of the Democrats continues down its current path, we'll be in BANKRUPTCY, let alone a little down grade. To blame the ONE GROUP trying to save the country is sheer lunacy. Pelosi and the Democrats have stated they won't touch SS and Medicare yet EVERYBODY knows that's what is driving a lot of the future debt. I gues they would rather lose it completely instead of reforming it for long term viability? Total insanity.

    August 7, 2011 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  4. JWR

    Liberals aren't supporting the billions of dollars for oil subsidies. The liberals aren't supporting the tax loopholes for the 2% who are hoarding much of the wealth of America. They are supporting the Americans who risk their lives as policemen, firefighters and servicemen. They are supporting Air Traffic Controllers in whose hands we place our lives in daily. They are supporting the teachers who instruct those who become innovators in this country. They are supporting those who repair and maintain America's infrastructure; roads, bridges and other conveniences whose safety we take for granted. The President needs our support, enough of the infighting. A few years ago, what is going on in America from the Tea Party would be considered treason and un-American. The Republican candidates encouraged a "no" vote to raise the debt ceiling. So whose fault would it have been if these jokers were in the White House? Who would they blame?

    August 7, 2011 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  5. Honest Abe

    Democrats... the party of lies and excuses.

    Republicans... the party of idiots.

    Tea Party... smaller government, more freedom, more personal responsibility.

    August 7, 2011 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  6. rererooks

    Tea Party and the Republicans are responsible. Mr. Graham will say anything for the Tea Party, just so they will not put a Sharon Angle against him in the primary. Guess what Mr. Graham, they're going to anyway! LOL

    August 7, 2011 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  7. adampeart

    Oh for the love of god, MR. PRESIDENT GROW UP AND BE A MAN! Ever since you took office you've been blaming EVERYONE but YOURSELF and your miserable policies for the ills of this nation. Reagan was chock full of faults but you didn't hear him blaming Carter for his entire 1st term like you with Bush Mr. Obama. For the first two years you had a Democratic majority in both houses yet you all couldn't be bothered to even come up with a budget...and you STILL haven't! We're downgraded because you refuse to get it through that fat, dumbo-eared skull that the US government SPENDS TOO MUCH AND TOO MUCH OF THE REVENUE GOES TO THE DEBT!(And commenters: Please learn the parameters of how credit is rated before you parrot some b.s. you heard and took as gospel truth.) You and your minions are nothing but LIARS Mr. President. I voted for you to get us out of all these wars, but you've turned out to be just as big a WARMONGER as Bush ever was. And the majority of Republicans are no better. That's why for the sake of PEACE I'm supporting RON PAUL this go around. At least he's honest, consistent, and says it how it is. Honestly Mr. Obama, you have no respect for the citizens of this country. You think we're all a bunch of imbeciles, and you believe whatever yarn or tall tale you come up with will just be accepted without question by mindless Americans. Obviously, by reading some of these comments you're somewhat right, but for those of us that actually think and learn before we speak, your cult of personality is running thin Mr. Barry Soetoro Obama. You and those idiots over on the Hill are a disgrace, and if I wasn't an atheist I'd use voodoo to curse you and all the other slimy 'representatives.' Yeah, you're all representatives all right. Representatives of WALL ST.

    August 7, 2011 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  8. billy

    Stop pointing fingers,you are in charge so it is YOUR fault. Take ownership for goodness sakes.

    August 7, 2011 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  9. S.positive

    Tea Party + Republican party = American cancer
    Tea Party + Republican party = American cancer
    Tea Party + Republican party = American cancer
    Tea Party + Republican party = American cancer

    August 7, 2011 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  10. S.positive

    At the heart of the Tea party and the repulican party is Evil and hate for the weakest among us. No wonder God is showing this up to America to make the right choice this time in 2012. Eliminate the Tea party from Congress. PERIOD

    August 7, 2011 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  11. Amber

    Mr. Axelrod, we the people don't believe a word you've said! You are a bold faced liar and it is your party not the tea party who is responsible and who will always be responisble for debt and increased taxes in this country. Washington cannot live within its means and spends uncontrollably, irrationally and without abandon. We need limited govt bringing the basics of needs for the people. We will not allow your party to turn this country into the COMMUNISTIC UPTOPIAN EMPIRE you and your ilk seek. Ayn Rand had it so right! Wish she were still alive and that schools would teach more of her philosophy. Maybe then, we would never be in this spot in this country. The producing people of this country should not have to sacrifice their earned way of life for the collective! It never works! The dictator in chief knows this and yet, the DEM ideology demands they act against the will or best interests of the people. Who's hurting now and in the future? Well, the re-distribution of wealth doesn't re-distribute to the poor. DEMs could care less about you. The money is re-distributed to the govt and THEY get rich. But, the leftist morons never get this.

    August 7, 2011 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  12. alan

    The ironic part of this is that there was no Tea Party until Obama came along. Now he will go down in history as the cause of the Tea Party AND having the worst credit rating in US history. A one-term president, God help us.

    August 7, 2011 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  13. Mark

    Obama administration blame storming again? Really?

    If hes admitting hes not an actual leader im game

    August 7, 2011 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  14. conoclast

    They're zealots; that's the long and short of it. Only they Know What's Good For Us and only they are the Knights White enough to defeat the evil practitioners in Washington! They're naive, and proud of it; they're ignorant, and proud of it,
    and it's now obvious they can be led by the nose like cattle!

    August 7, 2011 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  15. Jimmy

    My Uncle Wayne told me if you have problem with someone give them plenty of rope, They will hang them selfs soner or later.
    A Chinesse Philoser once said:
    1. Keep your Friends close
    2. Keep your Enemys closer

    that all I have to say.

    August 7, 2011 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  16. Af090391

    People need to separate a debt ceiling increase with debt. The debt ceiling should not have been a political hostage held by the tea party. If they wanted to pass proposals without tax increases, they should have ran it through the house, and gave it to the senate. It of course would get shot down, but that's democracy for you. People disagree, and no body gets everything they want. Holding a routine raise on the debt ceiling, which has little to do with raising the national debt compared to government spending, it a very horrid move that has swayed my from voting for the tea party again, come 2012.

    August 7, 2011 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  17. Big Bill

    Don't be fooled. We are exactly where Republican strategists have tried for years to get us. Bush set out to starve the Federal Government with his tax cut, and he was acting on a strategy that was proposed in Conservative think tanks for many years. Now, they have cut taxes and fought two wars on borrowed money, they hope to see the privatization of Social Security and Medicare as the only "responsible step". Even after doing their best to get her, it would not have worked without the determination of the Tea Party.

    August 7, 2011 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  18. gary

    The tea baggers are right, you can't run $1.5 trillion deficits 5 years in a row! We pay more taxes already! We need to bring manufacturing jobs back to the US, we need to buy "American", we need to move the retirement age back to 70, we need to be more fiscally responsible. Turns out the tea baggers are the only ones advocating for fiscal responsibility.

    August 7, 2011 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  19. MontanaMomma

    Ha, if we would have listend to the Tea Party, the US would be ALL of one skin color, and ever not here 8 generations would be deported. These Tea Party guys are stuck in the 50s.

    August 7, 2011 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  20. Ben in Oil City PA.

    The president put up 4 TILLION in spending cuts and increased revenue at a 3 to 1 ratio of cuts to revenue in this artificially created crisis and the Speaker of the House walked out of the meeting due to the Tea Party no tax increase pledges.
    They now own this mess. Based on the comments I have read here if you can't see this then you are either stupid, ignorant, greedy, or just plain hateful.

    August 7, 2011 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  21. Ed

    Axelrod is wrong, as usual. S&P clearly indicated that the downgrade is a result of spending issues and of a debt to GDP ratio that now sees our debt at more than 100% of our annual GDP. Those are perfectly valid reasons to downgrade a credit rating. It's the same methodology that consumer credit reporting agencies use when your credit score is calculated. If the "tea party" was holding out for spending cuts, how then is this downgrade their fault?

    August 7, 2011 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  22. Tracy Vinson

    I don't get it. All I ever hear is people saying that citizens need to take back government. That until we get off our butts and become actively involved in the goings on in Washington, nothing is going to change. Then along comes just the type of citizen-led movement we say is necessary to effect that change and it gets blamed for everything that has gone wrong. If any further citizen-born initiatives are out there, whether progressive or conservative, common-sense or foolish, they may never see the light of day because of the drumming they will take from the establishment. Seems to me if Washington as a whole is against something, it bears consideration.

    August 7, 2011 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  23. Eric32m_MD

    The Dems did nothing about the deficit when Obama took office. It's the Tea Party that saw the dangers of high deficits. This will be the Democrats new talking point, but people are smart enough to see right through it.

    August 7, 2011 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  24. paul

    The tea party is to blame. Making the debt ceiling raise a political issue is simply wrong. The debt ceiling was raised 18 times under Reagan, 8 times under "W". Where was the tea party then???? They are just a wing of the Republican party financed (it is truly ironic that they call themselves grassroots) by Koch brothers and other rich Republicans. Instead of raising the ceiling and then working on a long term common sense plan, the tea party would rather see the country go down the drain. Boehner has done nothing to create jobs and instead just play monday morning quarterback and blames Obama. When does Boehner start to accept the blame????

    August 7, 2011 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  25. Michael

    I'm not sure how people so easily forget the money we spent in Iraq fighting a war that was started illegally. Didn't that hurt us? Isn't that part of our debt? And the comment in the article "if we would have listened to the tea party this wouldn't have happened..." That's like saying if we listened to Hitler we wouldn't have had WWII. Let's remember why the Tea Party was really created.... when a black man was elected President. Their true goal is make sure that doesn't happen again. They are true domestic terrorists.

    August 7, 2011 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
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