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. Done With You All

    oh its Bush's fault, but I thought the DNC said that the economy was obama's, hmmm just another obama blame someone else game. As normal, no real men in this administration and its lead by the biggest cry baby of them all, hey obama are you going to stomp your feet and take your toys and go home, wow we could only wish you would leave.

    August 8, 2011 06:07 am at 6:07 am |
  2. ProgVet

    Everyone knows the national debt needs to be brought under control. The Tea Party was the only group insane enough to focus on laying our economy to waste at the hands of the GOP who willingly allowed a minority, fringe, radical group of citizens to have their own way. There were few reasons this country needed to join others in yet another financial crisis largely designed with a social agenda in mind. Getting our budget under control must include revenue increases and unless we stop this madness our country will never be the same and generations will suffer as a result.

    August 8, 2011 06:11 am at 6:11 am |

    S&P said that the reckless idiots running around saying that a default was a good thing and no new taxes caused the downgrade. That was Michelle Bachmann,Snooki Palin and the teabaggers. They said on tape. Those clips will be used next year as the election heats up.

    August 8, 2011 06:12 am at 6:12 am |
  4. johnmenacherjr

    Not the time to tighten money it is the time to make or start jobs! The tea party simply is selfish and myopic. What a bunch of liars all! Go Axelford 100% right and its time someone stands to the fascists!

    August 8, 2011 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  5. G

    Tea party is a bunch of traitors determined to destroy this beautiful country.

    August 8, 2011 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  6. Scott Trent

    The Tea Party didn`t pass and sign Trillion Dollar SPENDING bills, Congressional Democrats and the President did. It`s a CREDIT downgrade. That happens when your credit to debt ratio gets out of hand. The spending binge of Obama, Pelosi and Reid was out of hand. You know what else Obama inherited from Bush? A "AAA" US Credit Rating... Obama killed it.

    August 8, 2011 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  7. Scott Trent

    Washington has a spending addiction. They act like addicts whose drug (spending) is being threatened. Learn to live within your means Washington. The rest of us do. If we had to borrow .40 cent for every dollar we spend then we would be in the same boat as our Government.

    August 8, 2011 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  8. Pete W

    Nothing new from this administration. We were promised hope and change...we get BLAME and COMPLAIN.

    August 8, 2011 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  9. nopartyfan52

    It's now firmly well beyond ridiculous. Wake up people....take your country back from all of these self-centered politicians on both sides. Vote for those with solutions, regardless of party. Liars, deceivers, those unable to be honest and represent America, need to go. Wake up. Stop sniping each other regardless of party...don't you see this is just the chaos that leaders on both sides want? An electorate that is both ill informed and totally splintered = incumbents returning at alarmingly high rates = inaction.

    August 8, 2011 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  10. pudding

    This whole administration is a bunch of ba-fumes. Americns stopped blaming little sister and joey around age ten.

    I guess when you raised in kenya and have to blame someone else for not starting the fire why not.

    This is Pitiful.

    August 8, 2011 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  11. Terry

    Since January 2010, not one viable jobs bill from the Republican Controlled House of Representatives. Where are the jobs? Stop campaigning and start creating a "Jobs Bill with Incentives" that grow the US Work Force. Please, stop all of the campaigning and go to work.

    August 8, 2011 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  12. Joesnopy

    People read the report. S&P is saying the Tea Party caused the downgrade. Need to compare the debt of the US and the debt of the remaining countries with AAA ratings. So if debt or percentage of debt is the cause of the downgrade then why not take down some of the other countries with AAA rating who have more debt than the US. TEA PARTY. The Tea Party is the cause end of story. DO NOT MESS WITH THE RICH MONEY IS THE MEASSAGE.

    August 8, 2011 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  13. Bobby

    So it was the TEA PARTY that brought us to this catastrophic cliff. It wasn't years of out-of-control government spending, with no real substantive plans (by EITHER major political party) for lowering the outstanding debt of the U.S., much less a plan to actually get us OUT of debt. It wasn't this frighteningly flippant and unconcerned attitude that American leaders (again, of both major parties) seem to have regarding the mountain of debt this country owes, and the astronomical rate of change of said debt. It wasn't the continuation of the decades-long attitude of "Let's throw caution to the wind. As long as we have a national credit card, we can continue spending $1.25 for every dollar of tax revenue we bring in." It wasn't any of THOSE things that brought us to this point. It was the TEA PARTY.

    Here I was thinking we actually had much deeper issues than a few newcomers in Congress whom the establishment find somewhat irritating and inconvenient. I am so glad Mr. Axelrod was around to help sort these issues out for simple, ignorant people like myself.

    August 8, 2011 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  14. scrotalrecall

    more like not proposing a budget or revealing any kind of a plan. place the blame where it belongs, on BO the senate and the dems for laying around for two years doing nothing and then screaming at the last minute about hostage takers and the Tea Party (which isn't even a party)

    August 8, 2011 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  15. regertz

    Obama probably should have said screw it and used the 14th not only to raise the ceiling but force through a revenue increase on the grounds that the good faith and credit of the US were in jeopardy. However that would have been a nuclear option and perhaps he was right to stick to forcing the TP to reveal itself as unconcerned with the national interest and willing to damage the nation in order to keep generous loopholes and tax breaks. Much as the GOP and its front the TP would like to rewrite 2008 to put the blame on American homeowners (how dare they lose their jobs through no fault of their own) and "overpaid" workers (how dare they want enough money to pay their bills) we won't forget who ballooned the debt and collapsed the financial sector and then demanded a bailout or else we'd all go down. We have a revenue crisis and until we regain jobs and revenue this TP nonsense of endless cutting is ridiculous. Whatever mantra they harp on, since WWII it's been government intervention and stimulus that have been the driving forces of the economy, protecting the middle class until Reagan went after unions and middle class pay. And the investment (in education, research and development, infrastructure, support for new business) like that of any wise business paid off well over the long term. The TP position isn't a wise father budgeting his family...It's a fool who refuses on losing his job to spend the money to buy a suit, gas his car, get a decent resume, polish his skills and go out and get a job that pays as well or better than what he lost...Yes, counting pennies may keep him and family in the black for a month until the savings run out but what then? Investment is the lifeblood of any business and it's unbelievably short-sighted for these people to cripple the US economy like this.

    August 8, 2011 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  16. SilverHair

    Moodys, S&P and all the rest of the so-called financial experts have nothing going for themselves except loyal republicans who bend to their demands. Their total inept and corrupt actions led to the mess to begin with.

    August 8, 2011 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  17. hitobito

    While it is true that pointing fingers will not solve this serious economic problem, its instructive to learn how it happened. Reagan increased the debt ceiling 17 times and Bush 7 times. Republicans usually support debt ceiling increases. What happened this time? Propelled by the Tea Party, the GOP turned the debt ceiling into political leverage and in the process provided the stimulus to in effect, ensure the US economy will have a double dip recession. Its a failure to govern and a blow to a very weak US economy when it needed a better plan to address and fix the problems of a jobless recovery. The President should have rejected this contrived effort by the GOP/Tea Party to advance their political agenda. There is no question we must reduce our federal deficits, reduce spending and the size of our bloated government. However, this was precisely the wrong time to cripple the economy.

    August 8, 2011 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  18. realist

    So let me try to wasn't the stimulus that wasted money on "jobs that weren't as shovel ready as we thought" as President Obama jokingly stated. NOT FUNNY, but glad you added humor for the unemployed Americans who would have loved those jobs....It wasn't the auto bailout that you approved which lost 1.3 BILLLION on Chrystler after it was sold to.....NOT AN AMERICAN COMPANY...instead you spineless, gutless, leaderless leaders blame people who question your decisions....

    August 8, 2011 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  19. GOP Hate America

    Love how all the GOP harp on spending binges after the 5 trillion they borrowed to start wars and give rich people tax cuts. cant use this word enough hypocrites

    August 8, 2011 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  20. Obama Bin Badagin

    In a few years you will all thank the tea party for starting this discussion about the debt. It's why we elected the tea party after all. Tackling the debt now will avoid a catastrophe later. You socialists amaze me with your irresponsible tax-and-spend solution to everything. If we get the debt under control we will get our credit rating back and secure our future.

    August 8, 2011 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  21. Truth

    Demcraps blame everyone else......they are NEVER AT FAULT. We are a joke to the world thanks to the Chimp in Chief!!!!!! I draw ur attention to 2 months before the election..then senator obama was asked if he would run for prez. His response was *no, I think that someone who runs for that office should know what they are doing* So 2 months later he knows what hes doing??? Democrats are the most pathetic waste of flesh that continue to walk this earth!

    August 8, 2011 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  22. smc

    S&P wanted about $4 trillion cut from the deficit. President Obama was the only person to rise above the fray and suggest we make the $4 trillion in cuts – including offering up changes to entitlements and tax code his own party was not thrilled about. Instead of listening, House Republicans walked away from the deal, went into their own little bubble and piddled around with passing symbolic bills that were nowhere near that amount and had no chance of passage.

    Even worse was a small minority of Tea Party Republicans in the House, who appeared to show no understanding of what the debt ceiling even meant. To this day, they are still saying we should've defaulted. Those 20 or so House Representatives should be tossed from office as soon as possible. They have no business dealing with the finances of this country.

    August 8, 2011 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  23. Lisa

    The tea party was the only group being responsible here, this is a OBAMA and DEMOCRAT downgrade. Obama DID NOT put any plan on the table, but the Democrats are such LIARS they will keep slandering S & P and Republicans for this debacle they created. Remember Paul Ryan, the Republican who put up a budget and the Democrats ran commercials saying he was "pushing granny off a cliff" well S&P said his budget would of kept them from a downgrade. Will the main stream press report the truth? doubt it.....

    August 8, 2011 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  24. paulo

    Everyone needs to accept their share of the blame. Obama did not create the debt, he inherited most of it, but at the same time he has not done enough to reduce it. The Republicans are every bit as responsible as Obama. No single party created the debt. It has been slowly cultivated over tens of years. Playing the blame game doesn't solve the problem.

    August 8, 2011 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  25. Bevans

    So the Tea Party created the Stimulus package that was to hold unemployment under 8%...create millions of jobs... The Tea Party was the one who spent billions with zero returns...please, this is just another place to put blame...first it was Bush, then the GOP and now the Tea Party...when will this administration grow up and take some responsibility for their actions...silly Left.

    August 8, 2011 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
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