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. Ranterdon

    Oh yeah..Axelrod is a

    August 8, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  2. rapierpoint

    I find it funny that the right (including the Tea Party), which people are always saying is only looking out for corporate and the rich's interests, is now getting blamed for the downgrade like they intentionally wanted the markets, etc to slide. What benefit is it to their supposed corporate masters if the economy completely collapses? On the other hand, what benefit is it to the left (which seems to prefer total government control over people's lives) if the economy completely collapses?

    August 8, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  3. Rick G

    To the leftist Obamaites your promised land awaits in the next election, since you will lose your public sector jobs, you be out tring to find work but there will be no jobs since you didn't create any. I"m sure you'll find someone to blame as you always do, but in this instance you need to look no further than Barack Obama.

    August 8, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  4. TJC

    Sad and tragic how the Democrats are incapable of taking responsibility for their actions. Most parents try to teach taking responsibility before their children reach the age of ten.

    August 8, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  5. Chris

    This is what happens when you walk through any situation with such a narrow focus. When the only thing one block is looking at is cutting spending, it becomes very difficult to see the big picture. Sure, we needed to cut spending. That's undeniable. But we're in so deep, there's no way to just cut our way out of this. Cuts can only go so far in a fragile economy because government spending is a sizable chunk of GDP. Cuts in government spending WILL put poeple out of work. So for additional deficit reduction, some revenue DOES need to be raised. But the Tea Party was willing to let our country default on money we had already spent rather than increase taxes on those making over $250K/yr and close some corporate loopholes. They don't care if the consequences of their uncompromising stance are worse than the problem they're trying to fix. To call them irresponsible would be an understatement. But the blame does not rest on the Tea Party alone. Shame on the rest of Congress for allowing the Tea Party to hijack our government.

    August 8, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  6. Michele

    President Downgrade points fingers at everyone else, but where it belongs.. He created an environment within this country that is so partisan that the average American is now against their neighbor. He is not a leader and has failed us miserably. Congress was told 4 trillion and the tea party delivered. It was the democrats that balked and said they would not cut the debt. The republicans are to blame in this scenario as well the deal to cut cap and balance was on the table and it was the only thing that would have saved us from this scenario. Now we are hearing its the tea party's fault when they were the ONLY ones that gave a plan. That is the most pathetic thing from the administration I have heard yet!

    August 8, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  7. April Garlow

    So Obama is saying those few Tea Party members are much more powerful than the leader of our country-LOL-He wouldn't compromise–check the number of times that Obama said he wouldn't sign any bill that didn't increase taxes–he was downright obstructionist-if he couldn't pick our pockets he would veto it–I bet he said that once a day for 3 months.

    August 8, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  8. Sniffit

    Now watch how the GOP scrambles to deflect the blame. Queue deluge of Crossroads GPS commercials paid for by the rich and corporations who want so badlyto reduce 99% of America to serfdom.

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

    Blame the Tea Party, blame bus, blame the republicans-oy gevalt, just stand up like a man, Obama, and take the heat. This is YOUR watch.

    August 8, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |

    The tea part produced two pieces of legislation, cap, cut and balance and Paul Ryan's budget. Both met the mark Standard and Poors was looking for to avoid a credit downgrade. Both passed the house. Both were rejected by Harry Reid and the democrats in the Senate with a promise by Obama to veto both if they did pass the senate. Yet Axelod and the democrats would have you believe it's somehow the tea party's fault we got downgraded.

    August 8, 2011 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  11. Michael

    The last I knew there were 435 Members in the House, let's blame 60 Tea Party members. The other 375 that couldn't reach a deal had noting to do with it.

    August 8, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  12. Brad

    I find it amusing how so many people are throwing out debt numbers 'generated' by this administration. And for some reason, those numbers include the stimulus program signed into law by George W. Bush....

    August 8, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  13. Tom in Delaware

    Hey Libs, which is it..........the Tea Party's fault for the credit downgrade or S & P's 2 trillion dollar math error...........both conditions can't exist at the samr time and yet this is the message from the White House.'ve painted yourselves into a corner in record time!

    No wonder your integrity is shot........

    Liberalism.......keeping the lie alive.

    August 8, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  14. Jack

    Remember–Bachman and the other Tea Party wackos said they would let the country default. They would vote against any compromise. They said it didn't mean anything. Remember? How soon people forget these rants.

    August 8, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  15. sick of republican phonies

    Bill: Truly tragic, the dolts that blame Obama for the problems of the world. The recession started under Bush. Were you sleeping? Obama is responsible for Greece, Italy, and the rest of the faltering world economy? Do you have any ability to think cogently, or are you happy to just say nonsensical things?

    August 8, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  16. John

    No T baggers = No downgrade. Simple truth.

    August 8, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  17. davey

    my sincerest apologies to the democrats for being a republican who thinks that a 14 Trillion Dollar nation debt is just about enough and that this manner of doing business must come to an end.

    August 8, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  18. Busted

    Wow it's crazy all the tea baggin high school drop outs are all experts in finance and economics today. Obama was the only one who put 4 trillion on the table and it was the tea baggers insistence not to include taxes that led to the "compromise". This is how incredibily stupid the tea baggers are, they blame the "tax and spend" policies of the democrats as the problem in Washington because tea baggers are against taxes, and instead we end up with the republican "borrow and spend" policy. We are facing debt problems because of the money we borrowed, not collected in taxes. What's sad is most tea baggers can't seem to figure out something so basic, if you borrow and spend you run into deficit and debt issues. Raise taxes so we can pay our bills.,,,

    August 8, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  19. Chas in Iowa

    Boehner and big GOP boys best learn to play a little better cause the world is watching.
    The Bush tax cuts need to expire and we do need to look at the validity of giving very profitable corprations tax breaks during these recessionary times. A lot of the big corporate tax breaks made good sense when they were implemented to protect fragile parts of our economy. The bad news is we neglected to eliminate those protections when the business sector improved. We are going to review the tax code and the Republican pary had best get used to the fact that revenues are going up. They need not worry about the infuence of the Tea Party any longer, they have shown their true colors and are no longer a viable voice.

    August 8, 2011 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  20. Abe

    The Obama administration has done nothing but blame others for their own failings from the start. A lot of the us have been saying we real;ized the President was in over his head at least year ago and proof has now come to bear. They had been warned about our excessive debt and spending and rather than change directions he resisted at every turn in the most petty ways. And unfortunately Obama is so arrogant I do not think he will change to turn around our country while he is in office.

    August 8, 2011 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  21. megrobby

    Together we stand, divided we fall........

    August 8, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  22. Alina77

    I was watching a Tea Party "leader", giving "interview". You asking her one thing, she is answering like a programmed robot. Its like: you peeing on her head, but she saying its raining. Imagine those poor lawmaker (on both sides) that had to "deal" with over 60 Tea-beggar like that in Washington.

    We as a people sucks if we electing people that that dont give shat about the country as long as we talk about taxes. We are SUCK as a people!

    August 8, 2011 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  23. Mark from Louisiana

    The dems need some new talking points, they really look like idiots using this for an excuse.

    August 8, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  24. Ryan in Michigan

    Notice that the Democrats aren't talking about how the official S&P report says that not enough was done to curb spending, something the Democrats were sticking on. S&P said that the downgrade wouldn't have happened if cuts had been made in Medicaid and Social Security. To tea party activits, the report also said that not enough was done to increase revenue, meaning higher taxes, so in reality, both parties are to blame. Even though I'm a Republican, I think Obama's plan should've gotten more attention from both sides.

    August 8, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  25. megrobby

    Sorry, this was what I meant:
    "United we stand, Divided we fall" is a phrase that has been used in mottos, from nations and states to songs. The basic concept is that unless the people are united, it is easy to destroy them. This is a counter to the maxim divide and rule.

    August 8, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
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