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. fryguy34

    66% of the budget is welfare spending. which party does anyone honestly believe is responsible for that? 20% for interest on the debt, all of which was accrued due to reckless welfare spending. obviously the dem's fault. traitors, they should be tarred and feathered.

    August 8, 2011 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  2. unretired05

    The TEApromise means no compromise. That's what got the rating lowered.
    The TEA party wants the government to live within it's means and that is fine. They just need to realize that our means before the Bush tax cuts were what the budget was based on. If you want to cut taxes you first have to pay off your debt.

    August 8, 2011 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  3. bryan2568

    There is no doubt that the GOP crammed their agenda of no tax increases down the Democrats' throats by holding the resolution of the debt ceiling hostage. This was very much the same political bulldozing that the Democrats used to pass the healthcare bill. The issue has risen far past the debt ceiling and healthcare, and has become one of leadership. Whether it be a Democrat, Republican or an Independent, this country needs a leader that is up to the current challenges. Obama may not have created the mess he is trying to fix, but he is clearly not the right man for the current situation.

    One party wants to hold the world economy hostage to promote their ideology, and the other expects the whole world to fund this country's retirment and healthcare. We're all out for ourselves including the media that abondoned serious journalism for moderating pointless and rant filled blogs for advertising clicks.

    August 8, 2011 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  4. Anonymous

    It's scary that so many people in this country can believe utter lies like this. I am a Tea Party member, proud to say it. I am no terrorist. I am a father who worries about his daughters future in this country like so many others do. We cannot keep up this wasteful spending, we cannot keep sending money overseas when we have to borrow close to half the money we giving out. Who's going to pay for all this wasteful spending? My daughter and her kids, and it would be irresponsible for me as a father to not let my voice be heard.

    August 8, 2011 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  5. coy4one

    Get the Tea Party out of Congress and out of our lives!!! In addition, ANY politician who signed those "stupid" pledges should be impeached for honoring a non-government oath instead of their oath of office!! There are many other ways that this issue could have been handled in a less intrusive way and changed the habits of Congress over time, not immediately which is not going to impact more Americans than ever before. IT'S TIME TO MAKE A CHANGE AND YOU ALL CAN DO IT AT THE VOTING BOOTH!!

    August 8, 2011 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  6. Steve

    Isn't to have someone else to blame for your own failures, sure beats blaming yourself,bald headed jerk.

    August 8, 2011 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  7. Steve

    Isn't nice to have someone else to blame for your own failures, sure beats blaming yourself.

    August 8, 2011 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  8. Dpct

    42% of the debt since Nixon was incurred by George W Bush. The debt ceiling has Been raised 111 with no strings attached. The Democrats offered a 3:1 cut to new revenue proposal and the tea party stated they would rather default than give one inch. The great truth that you never hear is that America, and Americans do better under Democratic leadership. That's what the numbers say. " everyone is entitled to their own opinion, not their own facts". The tea party and the Christian right wing seem to believe that belief and facts carry the same weight. What we really need is a free press in this country. One that publishes verifiable facts and not the beliefs and opinions of people no more qualified as an expert than the average grade school dropout. The tea party's beliefs are not based on facts. The number of people that believe something has now bearing on it's truth. Just ask Gallileo.

    August 8, 2011 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  9. Jim

    I blame George Washington Buckwheat.

    August 8, 2011 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  10. maggie

    Truly tragic the effect that the Tea Party is inflicting on this country and the world. Irrespective of the value of their ideology, the manner in which they have pursued it has created such economic turmoil. Coming from a party, many of whom don't even have a basic understanding of world economy, let alone the consequences of events such as the default we were facing, is frightening to me.

    August 8, 2011 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  11. Mike

    Axelrod is just another leftwing mouthpiece. Obama's plan is to keep on borrowing and spending in an attempt to buy votes. The president is clueless. The credit card is maxed out, the checks are bouncing but he still doesn't get it. Can't wait until November 2012!

    August 8, 2011 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  12. fairtrade

    Blaming Obama, Republicans or Democrats for this is toxic and beyond indignation. Those that do are short sited and socially challenged. America needs education and for those who are educated to use it.

    August 8, 2011 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  13. jess

    Obama was given 1 trillion dollars to stimulate the economy. He didn't have a clue what he was doing, so he failed. That is who is to blame. -Signed, former democrat. Someone needs to primary Obama, but the dems have their heads so far up Obama's rear that they can't see that.

    August 8, 2011 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  14. Rachel

    Mr. Axelrod, though I am (politically) a "registered" Independent, I have to tell you Sir, that it gives me great pleasure to sit here & watch some of you democrats squirm. I am so very reminiscent of these TWO facts:

    1. Nancy Pelosi......"Tea Party?" I think it is more like 'Astro Turf.' While her adoring hanger's-on bristled with pride at her NOW fatal error.

    2. David Axelrod........"Tea Party?" In two months no one will ever remember who they are.

    Ahhhhhhhhh.......behold a pale horse. So the big questions now are:

    1. Nancy Pelosi.....How does that "Astro Turf" TASTE?

    2. David Axelrod......."Two months?????" How do you like the color of those apples?

    August 8, 2011 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  15. Light In The Black

    Go back to drinking coffee,
    its the only sane thing to do.

    August 8, 2011 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  16. Paul Cooper

    This explains so much about what went wrong with Obama. He's been listening to idiots like Axelrod make excuses for him from day one rather than get involved himself. But what else should we expect from a guy who has never actually stood his ground in a fight? Obama has run away from every serious question he has ever faced.

    August 8, 2011 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  17. nam_vet6869

    @ dd "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"
    dd, the 4 trillion was smoke and mirrors, to be a qualified Spending Cut it must be in the budget and scheduled for spending. The 4 Trillion was money for items on Obama's wish list meaning they were not real cut in spending. The last thing Obama wants is a recovery. His mission when he was elected was to destroy the Financial Health of These United States. Obama is not dumb and many of the decisions he has made have been just the opposite of what a Freshman Economics Student would do. This was not a Tea Party problem, this was a Washington D.C. problem. Obama went into Office knowing the odds of a second term were not going to be in his favor.

    August 8, 2011 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  18. John

    He sounds like most people on the 'dole', "never my fault, always someone else ". Here a thought, maybe it's all your fault and all the voters for electing those "representatives" without asking real questions, like can they really help or are they just pretty faces fronting greedy people, interested in money or pushing their beliefs.

    August 8, 2011 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  19. John

    Remember a few short week ago when we were told that republicans should just pass the new debt ceiling without any strings attached because that's the way it has always been done? S&P said that the downgrade was due to a lack of political will regarding reduced spending and debt reduction, so how would simply raising our own credit limit without any debate have shown them that we were serious?

    August 8, 2011 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  20. Dale

    The Obama haters will blame Obama, just like the sun will rise each day. But the real question is who do the true independent voters blame? This independent blames the extremists in both parties, but especially the T-Party Republicans. Only in the T-Party are 'compromise' and 'cooperation' dirty words. And their leader Bauchmann said quite clearly that default would be a good thing.

    August 8, 2011 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  21. joyce

    The tea party has ruined the country. I am sure some of the republicans realize that what they started has gotten out of control. Yes the deficit is to high but what caused it before and since Obama has been in office. I think most of the American people can see what is right and what is wrong since the tea party was formed. I think some of the tea party people will pay for their deceit come election time.

    August 8, 2011 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  22. Walter

    When will everyone finally get tired of the blame game? The far left and the far right have become so intractable, that those in the middle have no voice at all. The far right refuses to even discuss raising tax revenues. The far left refuses to discuss changes to entitlements, including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Simpson-Bowles plan, crafted by a rare bipartisan commission, says that both of those things need to be done. Alan Greenspan said yesterday that anyone that thinks that there isn't going to be pain across the board fixing this mess, is delusional. I couldn't agree more.

    August 8, 2011 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  23. johhny popper

    this guy is exactly the type of treasonous scum which populates DC today. He would rather play politics and stay in power than do what is so painfully obvious and good for the country. Sad our president has to have scum like this chirping in his inner circles every week. We may as well let Al Sharpton or Nancy Pelosi or Dick Durbin run the country into oblivion. Financial morons and in reality, traitors. If you don't really know what you are talking about, you should have the decency and common sense to shut up and let others lead the way.

    August 8, 2011 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  24. Billy

    The Tea Party is destroying America with it's ignorance.

    August 8, 2011 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  25. clarke

    They sure didn't help. There is still plenty of blame to go around. How could we the people been so stupid and believed the sound bites when we elected them. they have put the USA in harms way and don't seem to care.

    August 8, 2011 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
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