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. Inrealityhere

    Anyone who believes Axlerod and agrees this downgrade was the fault of the TeaParty has a screw loose.

    August 8, 2011 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  2. ReallY!!?

    Oh wow!! The new Democrat talking point now is to call this downgrade a Tea Party downgrade. R there any sane ppeople left in the Democrat party? Does anyone buy this? If so I have some land in the pacific ocean to sell ya! This President is the most clueless idiot ever in the history. How can u say that spending like this would help the US economy?

    The sad fact is all along S&P & Moodys threaten/told this Obama Admin if they don't stop the spending & continue to incurr more debt, they US economy will be downgraded. Obama DID NOT LISTEN. The tea party came about primarily because of the out of controlled spending of this Admin & their sole purpose was to stop the spending & robbing fr future generations. I cannot believe any logical, sane person would actually buy this.

    Who added $5Trillion dollars to the US debt. OBAMA & THE DEMOCRATS did! Fact:for the 1st 2yrs of ths Obama presidency, 100% of the govt (Congress & WH)was controlled by the DEMOCRATS with a 60% filibuster proof majority. Obama told Repubs, we (democrats) won and to shut up & go away. Repubs could not stop a single spending bill even though they tried. OBAMA & THE DEMOCRATS spent our US economy into a downgrade. No Repbulicans went along with any of these spending bills. Remeber they were labeled "THE PARTY OF NO" Now we know why! They tried to tell us! The MSM and the morons that supported Obama blindly refuse to listen! These r facts!

    So It is the Tea Party's fault that this Admin refused to cut spending? Seriously? Really?

    August 8, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  3. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    I don't understand the controversy. When citizens of every state voted the Republicans into office, this is exactly what they were voting for. Like the citizens in Michelle Bachmanns district in Minnesota. They wanted a Republican Teabagger, who is adamently against federal social programs, even though she and her family live off of them. They wanted a representative not to stay in Minnesota and represent their interests, but someone to travel around the country criticising the President, gay Americans, and a womens right to healthcare and social security. Well thats exactly what they got. Don't blame the representatives...blame the voters.

    August 8, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  4. Anthony Weiner

    Waaaahhhh it's the Tea Party's fault Obama's spent $3 trillion since 2009 with nothing to show for it waaaaahhhhh it's the Tea Party's fault our federal debt is so huge and no one will buy our bonds waaaaahhhhh!

    August 8, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  5. betterdays

    There are so many people posting here who seem to think you can just overspend indefinitely. Solution? Tax more. Then spend more again? Tax more? Spend more? Where would it end?

    Then, when someone tells you you have to make significant cuts, you shOOt the messenger. ShOOt the Tea Party. ShOOt the S& P. Spend, spend, spend.

    August 8, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  6. AJ

    No its an Obama downgrade. Obama is weak, spineless and the worst negotiator on the planet. I'm a life long Democrat who can wait until that fool gets booted out of office.

    August 8, 2011 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  7. ReallY!!?

    Charlie in Maine- Obama has spent more money than any other president combined. His solution is to continue spending. Is that not the defintion of insanity. Obama was warned if he did not cut spending by over $5 Trillion there would be a downgraded. Obama said lets spend more. Where was the "good faith" negotiations? Do u think we should just spend more money we don't have.

    There should be any investigation into who benefit fr this downgrade. Did Soros, Buffet made money. Because it just does not make sense for this Admin to have ruin this economy.

    August 8, 2011 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  8. Walex

    Blame the Tea Party??? You do know, Mr. Axlerod, that there are only a few Tea Party members in Congress? The downgrade was going to happen anyway, anyone with a brain could see that. We need to stop spending/borrowing it's pretty simple. No one wants to be the bad guy and cut entitlements, we have to cut them. Everyone will have to give up something, those getting entitlements will have to get less, those paying taxes will have to pay more, those borrowing money will have to stop. What is so hard about that. I will say that both Dems and GOP don't want to have to cut anyone off of entitlements, they are afraid to look "mean". But only the DEMS want to raise taxes on the producers of the society, they don't care how "mean" that is. FYI, 4 billion in "cuts" based on the ending of the wars is a mirage.

    August 8, 2011 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  9. MT

    "If we'd listened to the tea party, we'd have $4 trillion reductions in debt over time and not been downgraded,"

    Provably false. The S&P's own report took the US to task for focusing exclusively on spending reductions instead of a mix of reductions and new revenue from rational tax reform. The tea "party" refused to compromise and took tax reform off the table instead of allowing it to serve even a minor role. This calamity was caused by the tea party. Period.

    August 8, 2011 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  10. Amy

    Instead of blaming the "Tea Party" they may want to look to why the Tea Party exists at all. If people were satisfied with how government was being led and administered, the Tea Party would not have the voice that they do.

    August 8, 2011 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  11. United We Stood

    Mike in SA

    Typical from the responsibility from them at all. They are tying to tell you that 79 fressmen congressmen and senators were able to do this in less than a year all the while the out fo control spending freak show has been going on for decades.

    Yep. Answer these very simple questions.
    Did W inherit a surplus?
    Were the Iraq and Afghanistan wars on the books?
    Did Bush get a clean debt ceiling bill each of the seven times needed?
    Is the debt ceiling part and parcel of a future budget?
    When did the tea party suddenly emerge?
    When did the debt ceiling vote become attached to spending cuts?

    Do you need the answers? I'll provide them for you if needed since you seem amazed that these 79 freshmen DID indeed cause the downgrade. S&P specifically states "brinkmanship" and no "revenues" as key reasons for the downgrade. That would be those 79 freshmen that you can't seem to grasp as the problem.
    Here are the answers champ (they are purely objective and factual - even if they are inconvenient for you).
    Yes, W got a surplus handed to him which he squandered.
    No. The wars were not on the books, Obama put them on there (a fiscally conservative thing to do)
    Yes. W as well as Saint Reagan always got a clean debt bill.
    No. Debt ceiling is for items already due, not future expenditures. This fallacy is a GOTP tool to fool mentally challenged people.
    2009. Coincidence? i think not, otherwise they would have been protesting W (see first answer - surplus blown into huge deficit)
    2011. First time in history; not a coincidence again.
    No charge for this lesson.

    August 8, 2011 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  12. Ranterdon

    Wow...looking to blame....Maybe if we were looking for solutions since January of 2007 when the Democrats took over the House and that time the deficit was Just over 8 Trillion...the Tea Party has been right all along and if REAL solutions were the point of the deficit deal as THEY wanted maybe just maybe things would be different...The Tea Party represents a very small minority of the House and Senate...anybody besides me think that if Axelrod and others think they had power enough to change things then maybe it was given to them by the majority in power?

    Any logical minds here agree?

    August 8, 2011 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  13. Fernando

    This has got to be the most immature, boneheaded administration we have ever seen. Always blaming others for their complete and total failure. How bout some responsibility for YOUR actions, or lack of.

    August 8, 2011 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  14. BVN

    Blaming others is the epitomy of pathetic. Needless to say we have plenty of that going on in DC & in the comments sections of numerous special-interest media conglomerates like CNN. Are there any actual leaders of men left out there, or has everyone turned into a sheep because it's easier? Rabble rabble ignorant comment! Rabble rabble I'm right & you're wrong! Rabble rabble do something other than rabble for the love of.....sigh.

    August 8, 2011 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  15. Galileo2100

    The tea party is a political monster created by a one-way media which no longer answers to a Fairness standard. The founding legislative principle of compromise is rejected by this monster, who operates outside of principle.

    August 8, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  16. Joe

    Any person on here who is blaming a small party of ppl instead of the leader of the free world then i would like facts to back it up... If its so hard to just realize that Obama was not readyy to be POTUS then just go away and stop defending him and the idiots around him.. LOWER RATING IS HIS FAULT.. He wanted NO CUTS... S&P head came out and said we didnt have enough CUTS.. Didnt say we need more taxes (because they understand simple math and dont listen to talking points) just said need more spending cuts... Your Dem party has been taken over by liberal progressives that want a NEW WORLD ORDER... the one happy person today is George Sorros... Oh and that crazy guy u all attach is once again right on the money and called this over 9 months ago.. Mr Beck thanks for everything and thanks for pushing me into the gold market...

    August 8, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  17. adam

    Truly staggering that the administration is blaming the country's credit downgrade on the politicians who are the most fiscally conservative, and also have only been in Washington for 7 months.

    August 8, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  18. Jack

    There are only two political parties in this country now–The Deomocratic Party and the Tea Party. The GOP is irrelevant, sadly. If the Republicans want to become useful again they must exorcise the extremists in their party. The Dems did that and elected Clinton. Extremists will kill a party. They are like an autoimmune disease if left unchecked.

    August 8, 2011 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  19. Bill in VA

    Just another talking point as expected. While I truly believe as I have said in earlier posts that virtually every president and every member of Congress that has served since WWII got us here it really astounds me how the left and the compliant media give our current President and the Democrats a pass and try to blame the Tea Party movement. Why don't they assess the increase in debt – both actual and future obligations of Obamacare, that occurred during the time the Democrats controlled everything in 2009 and 2010. All the Tea Party movement tried to do was reign in spending and debt. All the Democrats and Obama did in those two years is pile it on. As I said, I really don't blame Obama and the Dems of the past 2 years alone, but if you want to lay blame it makes little sense to blame the ones trying to reign spending and debt in while giving a pss to the ones who arguably, most recently, pushed us over the edge.

    August 8, 2011 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  20. J

    Funny how Tea Party wants to cut the debt yet stops Obama's 4 trillion dollar plan, stops the bipartisan "gang of 6" plan, stops the Reid/Mcconnell plan, and for what? A last second two part deal that only cuts $2 trillion at best? And thanks to all the hostage taking we came to the last possible second before default which made our credit rating drop anyhow. Thanks Teatards. Your now going to fix our economy by destroying it.

    August 8, 2011 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  21. Robert

    Nice try David. Creditworthiness means demonstrating you borrow responsibly. We were financing everything on borrowed money, like an unemployed family living solely off credit cards until the limits maxed, then continuously trying to up the limits with no revenue coming in on the horizon.

    The first thing credit counselors do is tell you to stop borrowing. It is a sad commentary that our government seemed incapable of even beginning a mitigation plan without such pressure. Even the "deal" that went down was barely significant.

    We have some systemic problems we could not gloss over any more. (Talk about deserving a downgrade!) DA should be admitting his administration was remiss in contributing. The Republicans spent like crazy as well. The Tea Party crystallized in the outrage of both parties' recklessness. DA's hanging this on the TP is yet one more slippery attempt to deflect deserved criticism. Denial more than anything else got us here.

    More denial from DA.

    August 8, 2011 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  22. DanH

    Blaming the Tea Party for the debt downgrade makes as much sense as blaming the family dog for this mess!!

    There is NO ACCOUNTABILITY ANYMORE! These liars, idiots, criminals and sociopaths caused this problem and now they want to blame someone else!! Obama and the Republicans STILL do NOT have any detailed plan in writing yet! This is why all you ever hear from thess bumbling idiots is vague sound-bites and a pile of BS.

    The Tea Party did NOT do this! All the Tea Party stand for is REASONABLE GOVERNMENT and ACCOUNTABILITY... what's wrong with that??

    August 8, 2011 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  23. New Age Independant

    Democrats and blame. But they only have themselves to blame. Obama has failed miserably in his term as President. There is no doubt that he does not make a good President.

    August 8, 2011 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  24. April Garlow

    Hilarious–Obama, Axlerod, Kerry and other Democrats–blaming the Tea Party for the downgrade–they are saying a small disorganized group of people, with a few members in Congress is in CONTROL of our Country-So funny!–How much more incompetent could Obama look?

    August 8, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  25. Paul

    ALL because the Republicans would not agree to let the tax cuts expire. It's as simple as that. Too bad there are enough idiots out there (as proven by a lot of posts here) that are so brainwashed by their Republican masters– that they blame Obama for everything.

    August 8, 2011 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
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