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. eric

    S&P said months ago they expected at least $4T in cuts. Which Democrat plan cut $4T guaranteed?

    August 7, 2011 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  2. warren

    At what point in time does the current administration and the President (who ran on a promise of political change and bipartisanship) and the party in majority control of the government for several years now, quit blaming the previous administration (who did an acknowledged poor job also), the 'Tea Party', and anyone and everyone else but themselves?! Given Obama's full understanding of the marginal situation that he inherited,it is well past time to quit transferring blame and to start accepting accountability for his own failed initiatives (no matter how well-intentioned) and broken promises. It is time for Obama to 'man up', and quit playing the Washington politics as usual game that he railed and ran against and promised to change.

    August 7, 2011 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  3. Coste

    This analysis is 100 % correct.

    Thus, Tea Party became its own enemy. The tea party did everything they could to not increase the taxes that I could assure you that foreign countries are looking at this tea party people like a “geriatric group of senile people that you should not upset if you do not want to get in trouble”.
    Blame Obama, blame the moon,…with this you are doomed

    August 7, 2011 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  4. Pepinium

    The only thing a lot of these Tea-Party people truly care about is preserving the huge reduction of the tax rates on the rich and powerful that have been implemented over the last 30 years. Notice they keep talking about the spending only because they truly have a sense of "entitlement"(wink, wink) about the fact that, through the power of well financed interest groups, corporate tax rates in this country have been reduced from the 70% rates which existed in the 1950's (the most prosperous time in our nation's history, at least when it comes to the middle class). True, we do need to weed out a lot of the blood suckers who nowadays live from government handouts, but it is hypocritical to ignore the fact that the money is simply staying in the hands of fewer and fewer people because of these changes in our tax code. Have no fear, a lot of people like me cannot wait until 2012 so we can go out and make the Republicans pay for sticking it to the working man again!!

    August 7, 2011 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  5. granny11

    David Axelrod has it all wrong. The Tea Party just halted the spendthrift Obama, and you guys don't like it. Since when do politicians think they can spend our money like water going into a sand hole. Obama's health care bill did us in. It has to be rescinded by some statesman in the next election. Obama is wrong and his politics show it. The President and the Democrats have led us down this path.

    August 7, 2011 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  6. bannister

    Congress has been raping the US Taxpayer for years. Finally someone (the Tea Party) had the balls to stand up to rapist.

    Blaming the Tea Party for the downgrade (which took years in the making) is like blaming a rape victim for confronting her attacker.

    August 7, 2011 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  7. OldGoat

    Funny how the Obama administration is never to blame. Obama has the bully pulpit and a majority of his party in the Senate. He and they control the government at this point in time. So just who's fault is it, Messrs. Axelrod, Reid and Obama?

    August 7, 2011 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  8. JoelJ

    It is truly amazing how utterly stupid Axelrod and his idiot lefties are. They actually think this downgrade is political. Come on people, this is the thinking financial institution telling us that we have to face the music. We have to address entitlements now. There is NO MORE free lunch. Turbo Timmy should be fired and jailed. Obama should be impeached for incompetency. I have had enough of their lunacy. This country cannot survive four more years of this. And to think, Obama is well on his way to amassing a $1B re-election war chest. Obviously his supporters are not paying taxes like the rest of us.

    August 7, 2011 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  9. Riteaidbob

    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 |

    a in austin

    We all agree...Your a moron.

    August 7, 2011 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  10. Riteaidbob

    Obama's budget was defeated 97-0. That pretty much says it all.

    August 7, 2011 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  11. 0469

    To all of you individuals with such a short term memory....THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION INHERITED THIS MESS!!!!! Am I the only one who remembers President Obama clearly stating that he hopes 1 term will be enough time to get things back on track. The financial crisis didn't start under his watch and it wasn't under Presidents Clinton watch either. And I completely understand how legislation signed during a presidential term can affect the next leader to take the helm, which is my point. But 8 years of the Bush administration and Republicans controlling the House and Senate the MAJORITY of that time is the exact facts that support Sen. Graham's statement... "The tea party hasn't destroyed Washington; Washington was destroyed before the tea party got there."

    August 7, 2011 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  12. JoelJ

    jb want to tell the tea party activists that they are rookies...look at your party of leftist dumbocrats...lead by incompetent in chief Obama...remember..he never had to make a payroll before he took office...Now we know he does know how to run a large organization...totally totally totally an idiot...all he could do was be a lawyer!

    August 7, 2011 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  13. Joe

    This is really good. Don't blame the democrats, republicans, but lets blame the Tea Party. Why not just blame Donald Duck. That works! I blame Congress, Bush and Obama. They all sold the American people and their jobs away.

    August 7, 2011 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  14. JoelJ

    zigan...this financial failure is entirely at the dembocrats feet...they wouldn't cut anything...never put anything 'really' on the table..just a few defense programs..not the things that are driving this whole thing..too many people on the government 'teat'..getting paid for nothing...must be a nice life...I am paying for it...and sick of it...time to cut them a lazy kid laying around all day...make them get a would be amazed at how many jobs there the way .. your share of the debt is $47K... pay up. I paid mine last year.

    August 7, 2011 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  15. Pete

    Your all right, let someone else's ox get gored, not mine. Blame someone else, don't except your own short comings

    August 7, 2011 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  16. JC

    Blaming the Tea Party is like a teenager maxing out their credit card, racking up a ton of late fees and then blaming their financial problems on their parents taking away their card instead of raising their credit limit.

    August 7, 2011 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  17. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I want to know why we should lower rates after there is a removal of all of these loop holes? The rates should stay the same while the additional revenue goes to pay down the debt. There should be additional reviews of all deaprtments as to what they can cut. I would hope that heads of departments that have units or divisions covering the same thing would work out a way to cover that subject together. That could reduce the size of governement. It is almost like the FDA should be a part of the Department of Agriculture; all foods and other consumables should be cover under the Department of Agriculture

    August 7, 2011 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  18. Don

    The president's chief re-election advisor blaming the opposition for the country's problems. How unique! Certainly he can maintain an objective viewpoint, can't he?

    August 7, 2011 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  19. jj

    Just what I expected to hear from this guy; no surprise here.

    What does he and that crowd care?

    They'll get big pensions and hide behind 20 foot walls when this all comes to a head.

    August 7, 2011 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  20. Rick

    The Tea Party bears the most blame for the downgrade, both because their brinkmanship has caused the world to believe US politicians cannot work together to solve problems and because their refusal to raise revenues by closing loopholes meant a $4 trillion budget cutting deal was not achieved. If you want to go further back, President Bush racked up $7 trillion of the $12 trillion national debt by cutting taxes and then paying for two wars plus a Medicare expansion with debt. Can you imagine where we would be if we had paid down the natiional debt with the projected budget surpluses after Clinton cut government services–and we in turn were paying little or no interest on the national debt out of our current budget? How sad that politicians of both parties were unable to resist pandering to voters with a tax cut rather than paying down debt.

    August 7, 2011 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  21. Norm

    This can only be compared to a Hollywood screen play.
    Our government feels that "putting on a good show...a cliffhanger" for the American people, is a good way to get more people interested in the joke we call government.
    A bunch of bored super rich, with nothing better to do than play chess with the lives of the taxpayer.
    What do they care? They have more wealth than they could spend in ten life times.
    But they "lead" us?
    They are so out of touch with the real American citizenry, it's pathetic.
    These people live in a whole other world.
    Yet I see the sheep here defending them like they some how owe it to them.
    Get a clue people.
    The only thing they care about is your tax revenue.
    And they take that at the point of a gun.
    And no one commenting here is a memeber of that exclusive club.

    August 7, 2011 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  22. 0469

    Oh yeah...forgot to mention President Obama's campaign also included BIPARTASIANSHIP so to all who voted for him and are now complaining that he hasn't been forceful enough with the Conservatives, it's what we voted for so lets pull up the boot straps and give the man a chance. I have my doubts about EVERYTHING political cause it still boils down to what happens behind closed doors (if a door could talk...) WORLDWIDE!!! All this party bickering has to stop if America is ever going to achieve anything meaningful for all it's citizens, if that is truly the ultimate goal. Worst than being in a room full of Cowboys and Redskins or Packers and Bears fans.

    August 7, 2011 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  23. William

    All they seem to be able to do is blame elected officials who haven't been on the job but seven months. That excuse is starting to wear thin.

    August 7, 2011 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  24. roscoe

    Of course, the Tea Party is to blame for the credit downgrade. They don't care. It is a party that values stupidity, biogotry, and ignornace above all else.

    August 7, 2011 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  25. Bunch of Lies

    I'm sick of people blaming the tea party. Bunch of lies. There are only about 80 tea party members in congress. That's not even close enough to stop the dems and repubs from passing a bill together. The dems and repubs who blame the tea party are being infantile. Nobody needed the tea party's votes, all they needed was the dems and repubs to agree on a bill.

    August 7, 2011 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
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