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. groundhog

    Our politicians are blaming everyone else except themselves. They are acting like children. "No, mommy, I didn't do it – he did." Why not accept the blame as an intelligent adult? This includes the president, Congress, CEO's and Wall Street. If they ALL want to fix this situation let's get real. Bring jobs back to the USA, tax corporations which have moved out of the USA very heavily, cease all bailouts and no further "blank checks" for the president and congress. How about the way Congress works also? Have two year terms and absolutely no entitlements after they are out of office. Let them get back to reality – they are supposed to represent us, which they are not. They are arrogant, self-centered and have the idea they are above reproach.

    August 8, 2011 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  2. RNL50

    Mr. Axelrod should show some leadership instead of blame and finger pointing. Is it any wonder there are no resolutions to problems that our country face? Lack of leadership starts with President Obama and all through his Administration.

    August 8, 2011 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  3. lynn

    you cannot fix a problem if you will not deal with the truth and the problem–ALL the Democrats do is BLAME EVERYONE ELSE–first it was Bush, then it was play the race card, then it was Sarah Palin, then it was the Republicans, then it was the Tera Party,then it was Standard and Poors (and all the other credit rating agencies that also downgraded them with some form because 2 took away the AAA rating and the rest put them on Negative status with the chance of addition downgrade) now it is back to trying to blame the Tea Party and Standard and Poors and anyone and everyone but themselves..

    August 8, 2011 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  4. Cynthia

    Axelrod's spewing the dems TALKING POINTS...the TEA (TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY) PARTY is the ONLY group calling for fiscal sanity and adherence to the CONSTITUTION,,,,remember, that document that makes us the greatest nation on earth ??
    The only reason obummer took constitutional law is so he could find ways to dismantle it....he is destroying this nation, and putting regulations on business to destroy them too

    August 8, 2011 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  5. Mucklucky

    This downgrade belongs to Harry Reid and Obama. The S&P called their bluff. The House sent a $4T spending cut with limits on future spending to the Senate... just what the S&P requested. Harry Reid refused to vote on it. He will go down in history and the man responsible!

    August 8, 2011 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  6. Charlie in Maine

    I will say it again in case you missed it:
    There are three groups to balme for this:
    1. The Tea Party for forcing Bonhner out of good faith negotiation.
    2. The GOP for letting this monster they created try to kill the economy
    3. Anyone who agrees with the first two and did not bother to vote in the last election.
    All that is needed for evil to win is for decent folks to do nothing. Don't be one of them in the next election.

    August 8, 2011 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  7. Spanky

    And I suppose the TEA Party spent all the14 trillion in debt, too...

    August 8, 2011 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  8. Texan

    OMG Axelrod is an idiot. The Tea Party didn't spend out money – Congress and the President spent our money. We need to send them all home in 2012 and start over. Most of those people in Congress have never had a real job, and neither has our President. If they only served one term and then had to come home and work for a living, they would have an entirely different attitude.

    August 8, 2011 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  9. Robert Dobbs

    S&P's analysis said that the US needs to cut can this downgrade be the Tea Party's fault? Please show me where the democrats proposed cutting any spending! Additionally, a debt agreement could have been reached much faster if the democrats would have agreed to the proposal of the debt commission that was put together by President Obama! As a Tea Party supporter, even I found that proposal agreeable – why don't the democrats?

    August 8, 2011 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  10. JohnS

    Fire all of the politicians starting from the top from both parties and install nonpolitical humble professionals who are capable of handling the job and doing the right thing for the American people.

    August 8, 2011 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  11. TB

    Anyone who blames the President instead of the teabaggers for the S&P downgrade in an intellectually dishonest LIAR!

    August 8, 2011 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  12. Dale

    And the blame game never ends, "my party is innocent of all crimes and it is always the other parties fault for the situation we are in today". No, every political past and present is to blame for the countries problems but they are all to concerned about keeping their precious jobs to truly care.

    August 8, 2011 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  13. Sandy

    Tea party didn't do the spending, but they ARE responsible for the downgrade, as S&P says so!

    August 8, 2011 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  14. Alan

    Wow, it would be nice, and completely unexpected to hear even one "the buck stops here". I bet Obama points a the whitehouse dog when the maid has to clean the oval office toilet. At least the tired old "BUSH!" whack isn't being drug out of the closet for this one. Any debt reduction without balanced budget requirements was just window dressing and S&P and the Tea Partiers knew it.

    August 8, 2011 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  15. Tom Witmer

    I've been in sales for 35 years and a few things about successfully selling your product or idea. You pick a target/account, you put together a strategy, and then you execute. Assuming the info you have is correct, you will win more opportunities than you lose unless something comes up that was completely unexpected. The reason the Democratic party and the White House did not put a successful selling strategy together, and they didn't execute. There's nothing that came up at the last minute to surprise them. Now they blame the other side because they failed. Sales people who do that usually get fired fairly quickly.

    August 8, 2011 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    While they keep us buzzing around our little hole in the hive like busy bees, the Teatards have been put in place to collect ALL the honey that we produce for the top 2%ers (it is actually more like the top .05% really).
    The Teatards WANT the economy to crash and burn as much as possible under THIS President because he is THE ONLY ONE that is fighting to protect what little we have left, and rebuild from the ashes that this economy was left in on solid rock. This does not sit well with folks like the Koch Brothers/Founding Fathers of the Teabaggers. They need to eradicate Obama while simultaneoulsy propagandize him into being the FALL GUY.
    The sad part is that we are so desperate, scared and ignorant as a nation that we are liable to fall for their well-funded smoke and mirrors show.
    Wake up and smell the coffee America.
    Obama 2012

    August 8, 2011 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  17. Adam

    So Obama's chief propaganda minister has fresh new propaganda to spew? Yawn..

    August 8, 2011 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  18. United We Stood

    Perfectly stated and 100% accurate. The tea party now owns this. Their refusal to use common sense will result in higher taxes for all - interest rates as well as diminished 401k's. Until they and their supporters get it through their thick heads that spending cuts and revenues are both needed, the tea potty will be an anchor on the US. The smart people have seen through them though, and the GOP will be demolished in the 2012 elections.

    August 8, 2011 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  19. United We Stood


    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 |
    What's truly amazing is that you have no concept of reality. Taxes are at their lowest point in over 50 years. 50 years. Let me spell it for you - Fifty years. But the tea party mantra is taxed enough already???!!!??? Here's another fact for you Joel: Ronnie Reagan, the GOP deity raised taxes and the debt ceiling numerous times. Here's another one for you to try and grasp: taxes were higher under Ronnie. So while costs averywhere go up, taxes should go in reverse? If you don't like having a strong govt with essential services, might I suggest you relocate to Somalia.

    August 8, 2011 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  20. Mark

    Addicts blame the intervention for their withdrawal symptoms.

    August 8, 2011 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  21. midas

    If you voted for Obama in 2008 to prove you weren't a racist you better vote for someone else in 2012 to prove you're not an idiot.

    August 8, 2011 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  22. Bessy

    If anyone thinks that this is a bad/sad day for our country, then vote more Repugs in office and see how bad and sad it will get. Get a gripp people and realize that Repugs do not care about this country. Their aim is to bring it down. The Teabaggers are just a front for the real criminals. Get rid of them out by voting them out of office when ever they come up for re-election.

    August 8, 2011 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  23. Brian

    The Tea Party does not have enough sway in the house to effect a vote. Reid has much more power and influence than any one of the Tea Party congressmen. Obama has been president for how long? Axlerod is full of crap and he knows it.

    August 8, 2011 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  24. United We Stood


    I love how the Republicans try to blame Obama when S&P specifically states "brinkmanship" and no "revenues" as key reasons for the downgrade.

    Bye bye Tea Party!

    Obama 2012!
    Republicons and teatards don't like facts. They'll bellyache about the downgrade and say it's Obama's fault, yet when the source itself mentions the GOTP specifically, they play dumb....maybe they're not "playing" dumb.

    August 8, 2011 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  25. GSMITH

    This guy is an idiot, Barack Obama has been downgraded to Get this guy out of office he is a disaster.

    August 8, 2011 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
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