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. Ben Alcobra

    Nice going, Axelrod. Now Obama's going to have to cave to the Tea Party again, this time on the PR front. You'll be part of that cave-in.

    Remember: Obama always caves. If you give him a reason to do so, he'll have to use you as the expression of surrender. Good luck finding a new job in this economic depression, caused by Republicans and exacerbated by this puppet presidency.

    August 7, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. kyle

    If the Tea leaves really cared about the deficit like they pretend to, they would have wanted raised revenue, instead they are about protecting the rich just like the rest of the right wing nuts.

    August 7, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. darko

    Repeat the lie often enough. It's the total debt that brought us the downgrade. It had little to do with the debt ceiling. There was NO chance of default... only a partial govt shutdown, which is nothing new. The only thing the Tea Party did was shine some light on it for the average American. After all this, Obama and the dems not only don't want to cut spending, they're still crying for more 'investments'. After all, it's tough to campaign when you can't give away money.

    S&P should have downgraded us in 2009 or 2010, but the big boys had to recoup their losses with the bailout before they could issue the downgrade.

    August 7, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  4. Tony

    Couldn't agree more!

    August 7, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  5. inthespirit

    "The tea party hasn't destroyed Washington; Washington was destroyed before the tea party got there." YEP!

    August 7, 2011 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  6. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    No, it couldn't possibly the Dems insistence on perpetually trying to spend the country into bankruptcy...

    August 7, 2011 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  7. jennifer

    I think all of us know we need to reduce the dept caused, in large part, by 2 unfunded useless wars and the stimulas of the economy that was crashed by the same folk who took us too war. However I do blame the teaparty for the down grade. Their arrival has raised Washington dysfunction to a new scary level. They seemed clueless regarding the damage they were doing by bringing the nation to the brink of default with some of them even saying default was nothing. Also, they locked themselves into positions by stupid pledge taking that hampers Gov't doing what it needs to do. I think they are unpatriotic and clueless.

    August 7, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. Positive

    President Obama proposed a very resonable $4 Tdeficit decrease that was 3 parts spending cuts, including many that wouldn't be politcally advantageous for him or his party, and 1 part increased revenue. The Republicans, driven largely by the Tea Party, got up and walked out of discussions. That, after many of them destablized the economy by declaring they wouldn't vote to avoid default no matter what.

    So, yes, this is a Tea Party/Republican downgrade and a Tea Party/Republican downturn in the economy.

    BTW, has anyone seen a Republican jobs bill or even a hint of an idea for one yet?

    August 7, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. Indy

    There is a difference between "Blame" and "Facts" Fact is that the Tea Party held the country hostage without compromise and no one can dispute that fact, the Tea Party is even proud of this fact.

    August 7, 2011 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  10. Ray E. Georgia

    It is most unfortinitute thet Liberals and Democrats blame the Credit Downgrade on those in the Tea Party, so to speak. It was and is Liberals and Democrats that put all the Social Programs, that were and are Unconstitutional in place. And after 75 years of Social Expermentation why is the country in such dior straights??? Why are so many people out of work and on Food Stamps??? What happened to the New Deal and the Great Society???

    August 7, 2011 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  11. RAMBLE

    Tea Party simply wants the USA to live like responsible people. Axelrod simply wants Obie re-elected.

    August 7, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  12. Justin

    Sure,but the White House still didn't have to cave

    August 7, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  13. BILL, WI

    Its the amount of spending that brought the United States to the edge of default, not someone complaining about the level of spending.

    August 7, 2011 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  14. Kevin

    Meh, of course he does. It's always someone else's fault.

    August 7, 2011 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. Steve Lewis

    Don't blame the Tea Party for pointing out the obvious overspending going on in Washington by Congress and a Tax and Spend President. Last years budget deficit was $1.6 trillion and the Tea Party is blamed for that kind of behavior. That's like someone who sees a fire and calling 9-1-1 being blamed for starting the fire.

    The US needs to stop spending on wasteful projects like welfare for deadbeats. If Democrats want tax increases, make the 47% of Americans who don't pay Federal taxes start "putting some skin in the game". It's easy to scream that others "aren't paying their fair share" when the one making that claim pays nothing. Money earned by an individual is not the property of the U.S. government, contrary to liberal opinion.

    Also, the argument that tax breaks are a giveaway to the rich are ridiculous. Using that logic, a bank robber leaving $15,000 in a bank vault equates to a "giveaway" to the bank. Allowing someone to keep what is rightfully theirs is not a giveaway. Whenever a Democrat/Liberal starts throwing around labels and name-calling, you can bet your house that they are characterizing a group and outright lying about them.

    August 7, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  16. Linda

    Didn't Standard & Poor also blame the Tea party for the downgrade. Holding the country hostage because they didn't believe anything would happen. Calling the President a liar. Saying he was only trying to scare the American people.

    August 7, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  17. Paul

    When will anything be Washington's fault????? When will left wing liberal thinking ever be persuaded they are the problem???? Washington is destroying Washington...thanks to liberal politics, not the Tea was stated...the Tea Party had the 4 trillion dollar answer and if people would have followed their advice we would not have been downgraded. When will we ever learn it is a spending problem not a debt problem. As was stated by S&P representative, the political climate of Washington also added significantly to the decision to downgrade. Maybe now, we will address our "out of control" spending in a serious fashion. We can't afford progressive will bankrupt us all!

    August 7, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  18. Esme

    I agree Mr. Axelrod.

    And I am thankful that we the majority of people in the United States elected our President Obama to lead us through these insane times. He is exactly the man who can lead us out into better times, who can keep the hope for a brighter future for the United States, restoring its greatness.

    PS. Eliminating tax cuts that have proven to fail us, is not the same as raising taxes.

    August 7, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  19. MichaelK

    I guess the Senator from SC lacks some basic economics education. Not even allowing for the loss of quality of life should we get rid of EPA, FDA and others, that $4T in cuts would have started a major depression.

    But then again, the Tea Party's stated aim is to do whatever it takes to beat Obama, Clearly they are not drawing the line at undermining the entire country/

    August 7, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  20. Abnguy

    It is time that this administration grows up and takes reponsibility for their jobs and this country. 2012 cannot come soon enough.

    August 7, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  21. Steve/Oklahoma

    I hope my fellow Independents will join me in voting out the Tea Party radicals, reducing Boehner to two years as speaker and making smiling Eric Cantor minority leader. Maybe then we can get the 4 trillion reduction that was offered and refused by these cowards.

    August 7, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  22. jeb

    This will likely be a missed opportunity by global investors to ram a stake through the heart of S&P once and for all.

    August 7, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  23. Don Beal

    The Tea Party/Republicans are at fault. They put politics ahead of the nation. Their hearts may be in the right place, but their heads aren't.

    August 7, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  24. Mike

    How stupid do you have to be to believe this garbage. This downgrade was because demorats would not agree to the needed spending cuts. The S&P warned well in advance, 04 trillion was needed to "possibly"stave off the down grade but no, nobama wanted more spending and no cuts. Well, how does it feel for the US to suffer the only down grade in our history and it came under obamas watch and a democrat controlled congress for four years with pelosi and reed.

    August 7, 2011 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  25. Bill, NY

    S&P should be ashamed. They are a very big part of the problem. The same S&P that gave AAA ratings to the very bad debt that played a large part in the mess we are in today. The Tea Party is just Al-Qaeda in America.

    August 7, 2011 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
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