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. Dan J

    Really, Axelrod? Didn't a bunch of democrats also vote against the debt deal? Didn't the democrats shut down proposal after proposal? Thank you for adding fuel to the fire that got us into this mess in the first place.

    August 7, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  2. Tea Party Mike

    Axelrod and the rest of the Democrat liers should try telling the truth for once.
    Here is a quote from an interview today of S & P chief David Beers.
    'Governments and Congresses come and go, but spending on entitlements persistently drags U.S. debt further into the red.
    The key thing is, yes, entitlement reform is important because entitlements are the biggest component of spending, and the part of spending where the cost pressures are greatest," Beers said.
    Beers said he faults both Congress and the Obama administration for "the difficulty of all sides in finding a consensus around fiscal policy choices," but any agreement must command the support from both political parties in order to be durable.
    Entitlement reform means Medicare and Social Security to you brain dead Democrats.
    The Democrats attemts to pin this all on the Tea Party just shows they are not serious about solving the very serious and dangerous debt and defict issue.
    The S & P is calling for more deficit reduction, not less. Do the Democrats think a clean debt ceiling increase bill with zero defict reduction would have been adequate to the S & P? Only a moron would think so.
    The Tea Party and Republicans pushed the Democrats in the right direciton and now both parties have to find a way to go the rest of the way. The Tea Party and Republicans are leading on this issue and Democrats have to drug kicking and screaming alone.

    August 7, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  3. Don

    Anyone who credits the Tea Party with any positive spin pertaining what has just transpired should be replaced at the next election. Lindsay Graham knows better, and is playing politics.

    Tea Party zealots are following their conscience, and doing what they promised to do, and are steering us quickly to being a second-rate power. This in no way exonerates the last few administrations and Congress, the absolutely amoral character of AMerican business entities, macroeconomic factors in play since the days of the cold war.

    But with all that in mind, these well-meaning fools and the people in the Republican party that have backed them in order to dump Obama are pushing over the edge and making solutions almost impossible to come by.

    August 7, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  4. R

    Its Obama's Fault you cant spend trillions in 2 years great no jobs and expect not to be downgraded its not the TEA parties fault.... What a joke!

    August 7, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  5. blake

    Such utter nonsense. The leftists in Washington continue to bury their collective heads in the sand. This is ALL the fault of Democrats and centrist Republicans. The conservative Republicans and Libertarians are the only ones in Washington demonstrating even an inkling of common sense. We are overspending by $1500 billion annually. We need massive, across-the-board spending cuts. The legislation that was passed last week was a small step in the right direction, but only a very small step. We don't need to the capacity to borrow more, we need the capacity to say no to spending. Wake up Axelrod, both you and your leftist colleagues!

    August 7, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  6. molleja

    This was SOOOOOOOOOOOO predictable.....blame the Tea Party. This PATHETIC "blame everyone else" regime is the MOST incompetent bunch of brainless goons EVER imaginable. The Tea Party needs to CLEAN HOUSE in 2012.

    August 7, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  7. Bill t.

    Blame it on who you want. The downgrade was coming no matter what. US is in such incredible dept started many presidents ago and continued until Obama was elected who is like Bush Jr. on freaking steriods. He not only made promises that weren't kept, he called for transparency in Government which turned out to be the biggest joke of them all...but in the end, it is Obama's obsolute lack of leadership, vision and experience that will be blamed. How can you blame anyone else. In the end, the fall of the United States of American happened during Barrack Hussien Obama's presidency. Blame who you want but these are the facts. Live with it.

    August 7, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  8. Geoz

    The TP is fully at fault here.

    August 7, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. diridi

    GOP, Tea Party are the nation's number one thugs....they are the ones for this true...Obama2012.

    August 7, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  10. Ryan NC

    99% true, 1% weak republican mainstream leadership.... Mr. Boehner should grow a spine (I don't like McDonnel but he did!) and stand up at the tea party minority!

    August 7, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  11. Thankfully Independent

    Glad someone actually said it out loud ... even if it was Dave Axelrod

    August 7, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  12. JuesT

    Absolutely in the sceme of things blame can be placed on the Tea Party and their republican partners. They played russian roulet and we the average middle class will suffer the brunt of it all. I hope people remember the events that led up to this debolical of economical downfall. Greed, is what got us in this mess long before our President was elected; and greed will bring us down.

    August 7, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  13. Idahoan

    why can't the demorats take any responsablitiy for anything, why do they always place blame and point fingers????what a bunch of losers. They are the wimps of our sociatey

    August 7, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  14. D.

    Good to hear someone from the Presidents team tell it like it is...the GOP screwed us.

    August 7, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  15. Laurie

    Will they ever stop sniping and pointing fingers and instead focus on getting our economy in shape? Hush up, sit at a table with each other and work!

    August 7, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  16. C. Howe Yulikit

    No matter what the TeaBaggers claim, this debacle is solely their fault. And American voters will remember that in 2012.

    August 7, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  17. Aprisk

    He is absolutely right. The tea party's no compromise attitude was a large factor in our eventual downgrade.

    August 7, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. lila

    America is in the pocket of corporate america.. and that is a sad fact.. and even though i like to see corporate america spooked by the tea-party,... I also know the tea-party has no problem seeing everyone's retirment distroyed and all social programs collapse in order to reach their ideological goals. there is no middle ground with them. The Grand Old party are fully behind corporate america. The tea-party.. not so much, the tea party would not care if banks failed or the stock market went belly up. They would in fact cheer it. The tea-party want a total purge.. and they really don't care who they hurt npow to get it. I would think corporate america would figure out that trying to use the tea-party to further their gains is a losing bet. There is no talking to crazy. The GOP would be smart not to pander too much to a party that does not care if corporate america.fails in order to reach a pure place. That is playing with fire.. and putting at risk the welfare of millions upon millions of people.

    August 7, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  19. Larry L

    The Tea Party is a group of economic terrorists – an American Taliban. Those mindless bigots will do more damage to America than the 9/11 terrorists as they engineer our decline into the 2nd World level of economic status. Terrorists hold hostages, they don't mind martyrdom, and they replace logic with blind ideology – just like the Tea Party radicals.

    August 7, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  20. Marc

    I am tired of Republicans and Democrats blaming each other. I would respect each party and reps if they would do something most had to do in school... own up to their mistakes. Say... '"Hey we've been doing it wrong way to long!" Bickering about what everyone knows... that each party is to blame and not just one will not solve our problems. We need leadership and right now I don't care who steps up to the plate as long as they do the job they were elected to do. Get along or get out!

    August 7, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. JJ

    From the S&P release ...
    Compared with previous projections, our revised base case scenario now assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012, remain in place. We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act.

    August 7, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  22. Deja-moo...!

    The tea-party is to blame...deja-moo feeling that you have heard this BULL before.!
    Who is the tea-party anyways..? Millions of grass-roots Americans who want the insane
    spending stopped and bring the financial house in order as well the dysfunctual houses in Washington..!!

    August 7, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  23. Ender

    I agree. The "Tea Party" wanted things only their way and saw no reason that -they- should sacrifice anything. What's really funny is S&P has told us the reasons and part of those reasons was that we are not raising new revenues by raising taxes. But the "Tea Party" is completely ignoring that. And why are we calling these people "The Tea Party" anyway? They refuse to actually create a new party. Lets call them what they are. Namely disenfranchised Republicans who refuse to realize that -they- are part of the problem.

    August 7, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    tea pouty is a anti-American.

    August 7, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  25. mike

    Mr Axelrod better be prepared for an Obama downgrade next year,... this 3 ring circus of an administration needs to be shown the door ASAP, along with its cohorts Pelosi and Reid...

    August 7, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
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