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. Kirkincho

    I think a better name for the "Tea Party" should be the "Brown Shirts."

    August 7, 2011 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  2. telrider

    Haven't you had nough? Then elect more Republicans influenced by tea baggers to office.

    August 7, 2011 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  3. Peter s

    You vote GED-Less congressmen/women and everyone else pays the price!! Stupid choices = stupid result. Folks never forget the Roman empire, "The decline of the Roman Empire refers to the societal collapse encompassing both the gradual disintegration of the political, economic, military, and other social institutions of Rome and the barbarian invasions that were its final doom in Western Europe."The decline of the Roman Empire refers to the societal collapse encompassing both the gradual disintegration of the political, economic, military, and other social institutions of Rome and the barbarian invasions that were its final doom in Western Europe." lets apply the same to our current situation! "The decline of the AMERICAN societal collapse encompassing both the gradual disintegration of the political, economic, and other social institutions of America and the teabaggers invasions that were its final doom in United States of America. IT JUST FITS PERFECTLY!!

    August 7, 2011 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  4. MJ

    Don Lemon had tea party express leader Amy Kremer on his show. He read a paragraph straight from from the assessment that the S&P released regarding our credit rating downgrade. It, in part sited the Tea Party republicans for its their rigid stance against taxes and the insistence that bush tax cuts for the rich would continue as a reason for the downgrade.
    She than said, "Taxes are not the reason for the downgrade" Nothing can penetrate the thick skulls of these ignorant people! Here is a fact! A fact read from the statement released by the organization doing the downgrading! Of course...It can not be true! Who are these people?

    August 7, 2011 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  5. MJ

    ‎"Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'"
    — Isaac Asimov

    August 7, 2011 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  6. charla

    At least reading this I got a laugh in this sad sad day in our country!

    August 7, 2011 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  7. Josh Gonzalez

    If the tea party had had their way the debt ceiling wouldn't have been raised at all. They are completely out of touch with reality.

    August 7, 2011 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  8. Jude

    teabaggers in the house were hired to do the dirty deed for the mega rich and huge business who have had a free ride, thanks to bush, continue to syphon $$$ out of our country, refuse to hire and are ruled by greed. greed. tax the heck out of these folks if they are using our country as their office and refusing to use us as their staff. tax big time or kick them out and they can take the teabaggers with them, they need someone to carry their luggage.

    August 7, 2011 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  9. Nodack

    Sure the tea party wanted 4 trillion on cuts. Their idea was to shut down anything that had the words Federal attached to it they want zero taxes, zero government, no schools, police, fire, FDIC, SS, Medicade, Medicare, roads, utilities, FBI and especially any agency that regulates businesses in any way.

    Getting rid of that would lower our debt I suppose, but I think doing that would be stupid as it gets.

    August 7, 2011 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  10. DSO

    It is interesting that the first Democrat priority here is to attempt to place blame on someone else. I can almost see these strategists in a smoke-filled room saying "if enough of us call it the Tea Party Downgrade, Americans will think the Tea Party is to blame". I'm pretty sure there is enough blame here to go around. Trying to pin it on one group is pure politics.

    August 7, 2011 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  11. Hark

    The Teaparty was the only faction of our political system that had the kahonies to make a stand. For years our representatives, both R and D's, have made decisions which were fiscally irresponsible and bad for our countrys future but made sure that those decicions kept people in power. Our politicians are there to work for us not their own personal gain OR their partys personal gain. Bring it on Teapartiers we nneed more tough love or we will never be the country we once were or should be again!

    August 7, 2011 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  12. ARMY CSM

    They, the tea partiers will all be dead and gone in about 20 years and the country will be better off. The generation of hate that hate produced is not long for this world. If we Americans can just maintain our country for this period of time to elaspe there will be peace. Americans will get along with each other, we will reconize that we are all different but we are all the same-Americans.
    Conversation will one again start, compromise, understanding, strength, brotherhood. The true America will return...20yrs. Hurry!

    August 7, 2011 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  13. randy

    If only those in the Tea Party had a solid record of accomplishment like the Obama administration....
    1. Closed Guatanabo Bay...check 🙂
    2. Stimulus package kept unemployment below 8 percent...check
    3. Ended the Iraq War...check
    4. Improved the image of the US worldwide...check
    5. Stopped the "Bush tax cuts"...check (by the way they are the Obama tax cuts now so please stop saying "Bush"
    6. Concentrate on the good war...check
    7. Stop using military power for disagreements...check (libya doesn't count because we only support the mission by dropping bombs)
    8. Universal healthcare...check (except for the exemptions to tens of thousands of companies)
    9. Wall Street Reform...check...the average CEO now makes a higher multiple of money than any point in history)
    10. Stopping corporate jet loophole...oh okay he didn't get that one...

    But with all those other successes this guy is a shoe in for reelection.

    August 7, 2011 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  14. Josh Gonzalez

    The three to one spending cuts to revenue bill that Boener proposed was a good compromise, but it never made it to the floor because the tea party didn't want to raise the debt ceiling.

    August 7, 2011 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  15. ARMY CSM

    Oh BTW, As I have said on posts all over this website: Barack Obama will be re-elected; thanks to the tea partiers and that crowd. Just sayin...again.

    August 7, 2011 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  16. Tea Party in My Pants

    Republicons and Teabaggers don't care about anything regarding actual governing and representing the people that voted for them. If they did, then they would've raised Cain during the Bush years where most of the problems we face today came from. The main goal of the lunatic rightwing is to get the black guy out of the White House, by any means necessary. The rhetoric is all there and plain to see, read, and hear.

    August 7, 2011 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  17. Stymie

    People with convictions, i.e. the Tea Party, are always mocked and scape-goated by people without convictions.

    August 7, 2011 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  18. Laser2011

    I guess I don't see where the the tax cuts to the rich people and/corps. are creating jobs. Just saw a post where Merck Pharm. is laying off some 6500 people because a patent is running out for an asthma drug they make. So, if you have medical ins. like I have, Blue Care Network, that won't cover that med., we should be happy, because now there is a generic. But if you lived the AMERICAN DREAM and worked for Merck and are getting the shaft, better hope the gov't will have benefits for you. OH, what was I THINKING, can't do that, have to balance the budget. AS long as MERCK, gets their profits!!!! By the way, Merck is INCREASING employment in emerging markets, ie CHINA!!!! Do you think!!!! Nice to know we are not emerging, is'nt it????

    August 7, 2011 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  19. John

    If the Tea Party would agree to the plan President Obama and John Boehner had for 4 Trillion dollars. The Down grade would have never happen. It the Tea Party Fault and the Republican for letting 60 Tea Party People to tell them how to ran the Republican Party. They was told be for hand that the dept ceiling deal had to have spending cut and revenue. And the Tea Party would not agree to that. Now all of America got to pay for what the Tea Party did and the Republican letting them. Just reminder what Michele Bachmann keep saying ,that her wouldn't have rising the dept ceiling at all. That the Tea Party for you. The Trouble Is ever since President Obama got elected ,It seem that the Tea party and the Republican have try to blame everything they can on him. And so has a lot of American people that can't get by his skin color. President Obama has done everything he could to get us out of the Mess President BUSH left him In. With No help from the Republican at all they just saying NO to anything or everything he wanted to do. they could have help him ,Instead of doing what they did. And the sad thing Is there a lot of you people that Is just as bad. In by the color of his skin and give him a chance.

    August 7, 2011 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  20. Sue

    When the Democrats took control of Congress, the unemployment rate was only 4.6%. After 6 years of Bush in office--and after 9/11, tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.-–the unemployment rate was only 4.6%. When is that idiot in our White House going to put on his big boy pants. He is so incompetent and clueless, he makes me want to vomit. Then after 3 years in office-–its Bush's fault, it is because of tsunamis, Arab Spring, jock itch, etc.-–PLEASE resign Obama, so that our country, economy, military has a chance of surviving.

    And, remember the camapaign slogan for 2012-–Romney, Pawlenty, Bachman, Billy the Pig Greaser-–ANYONE but Obama!!

    August 7, 2011 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  21. dgs

    Obama needs only to look in the mirror to see who is totally responsible for sorry mess this country is in. I hope he feel the weight that rest on his shoulders. He and only he is responsible...remember where the "buck stops".
    He is so out of touch with the real American, that he thinks you can snap a finger and create jobs. From his comments on "job creation" you can tell he has NEVER worked for a "for profit" company.

    August 7, 2011 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  22. independent

    Clearly, this is a Tea Party Downgrade. Now, ask S&P if the expiring Bush tax cuts will get our AAA back?

    August 7, 2011 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  23. Debbie

    You can't blame the tea party. You can only blame Obama. He had steps he could take to pay the bills but he chose not to do anything. He allowed the whole issue go to the last minute instead of taking control. He'll lose in 2012 because he has done nothing right. Sometimes I wonder if any in Washington have any sense at all. Definitely not any common sense. The only good we can hope for right now is the bottom falls out of the price of oil. I have a feeling it will.

    August 7, 2011 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  24. Greg Gilbert

    So the Obama administrations says if we would just keep ignoring the problem we will be better off in the long run. I don't really think they are that stupid to believe that. It's just more politics. The debt ceiling was designed to get our government to spend less, if you can't use it to get us to debate about what it was designed for then get rid of it.

    August 7, 2011 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  25. Lonestar1836

    The partisan comments are lining up here exactly as you would think. Both sides in Washington have clearly acknowledged the need for big cuts (remember Obama's plan with $4 bil. in cuts? It was rejected by republicans because it included closing tax loopholes for the very rich and for corporations). And virtually every American economist has said there must be a revenue increase. What the teabaggers did was obstruct the process for other reasons. They would rather have the country fail than have the economy improve under Obama. Axelrod is correct, and we'll be talking about the "Tea Party Downgrade" all the way to November 2012. Kick the teabagger bums OUT!

    August 7, 2011 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
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