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. carly

    Axelrod is right on the money. Because of the tea party antics the deb issue became front and center. Without those fools there is no way this downgrade would have occurred.

    August 7, 2011 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  2. logic in LA

    While they are not the blame for the downgrade, their resistance to logic did not help. The Tea Party's anti tax stance is unrealistic. We have a government based on tax revenue. We need to cut spending but we also need a tax base that fair and reasonable. Our current rate is not even close. We are operating on the second lowest rate in history. It explains the second worst financial disaster in our history

    August 7, 2011 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  3. Tommie T

    The Progressives are perfectly willing to see a $20 trillion national debt. More taxes will just mean more spending. Which is the right thing to do. Bottom line is Obama increased spending by $1 trillion per year. Go back to 2007 levels, increase taxes by a modest amount and voila! Balanced budget. Add in some workfare and prison labor. Net present value the pension spikers. And voila! Balanced state and local budgets too! And meanwhile send a few folks home for good measure.

    August 7, 2011 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  4. Freeman

    Mr. Graham what planet are you on? On This Week with Christiane Amanpour a representative of Standard & Poor essentially blamed the tea party for the downgrade. Has anyone seen the cover of the latest issue of Time Magazine. Let's put the blame where it belongs. On the idiot tea party.

    August 7, 2011 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  5. anita

    he is absolutely correct 100%

    August 7, 2011 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  6. Reggie from LA

    It's true. The Tea Party and Norquist, of course. Those lawmakers knew this needed to have been done, but as usual, the Tea Party puppets had to attempt to broker a deal to get something out of it to feel a sense of control. Then the "I will never tax anyone (especially the wealthiest of us)" chimed in after all the fuss was created. I just can't believe those Greedy Old People are loyal to the rich to the brink of disaster. they are already blatantly fracturing the middle class.(OH YES THEY ARE!!I guess those lobbyists have earned their keep. Oops. I forgot to try to link Obama as being at fault. Guess I'll work on that.

    August 7, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  7. T. Le

    I can not believe that we have this kind of administration. We elected the president for him and his team to lead the nation and now they blame for a group. So what is the president for? what is executive branch for? Mr. President, you and your team are the top of the nation and have all official power and resources to do the work and that is the job that you and your team have tried hard to get, by all means, and now your team blames to another party that American did not vote for them to lead the nation, the party is NOT a leader of the nation. You are the leader and you are responsible for whar the nation is leading to. Mr. President, please stop your team members in fooling American people and downgrading our nation reputation.

    August 7, 2011 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  8. mike

    let me get this strait Obama gave in to almost all of the demands of the repubs so this countries credit rating would not be down graded now these scum bags are running around saying it was Obama's fault when they were willing to see this country default in the first place so now it is time for me to do the same and that is to stop BUYING its like that other idiot rick perry lets pray our way out of this just look at how there praying did for rain in there state hows that global warming working out for you

    August 7, 2011 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  9. debby

    Teaparty and Gop "Speaker of the House Boehner,Cantor are (98% responsible for Downgreed of American Financial System. With the Bush Administrations "Greed and Corruption for 8 yrs!!!!! Get It!

    August 7, 2011 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  10. dina

    There are no innocent parties. They are all guilty of partisan pollitics, looking out for their constituents and gaining controlIt is a sad day for American politics. We need a stronger president.We need someone who thinks about the people instead of his own image. We need a leader.I had hoped Obama would be that person, but he is lagging behind on most things. I hope he sees this and changes the way he functions as president.

    August 7, 2011 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  11. CedarRapids

    'If we'd listened to the tea party, we'd have $4 trillion reductions in debt over time and not been downgraded'
    Really? The tea party didnt want to raise the debt ceiling at all. It would have been more than just S&P that would have downgraded at that point.

    August 7, 2011 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  12. 0469

    "The tea party hasn't destroyed Washington; Washington was destroyed before the tea party got there." So how far back in time should you go to find facts that support your statement Sen. Graham? Maybe the tea party should check the hindsight vision of their party affiliation since the last 3 years is all they seem to notice.

    August 7, 2011 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  13. rene

    Axelrod is correct. The Tea Party has committed treason against America and need to do jail time for their terrorist acts. We need to impeach every TP representative in congress and charge them with felonies.

    August 7, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  14. kazz

    it is the tea party's fault

    August 7, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  15. Latesha Bo

    Obama now has credit for 1) First Downgrade in US History 2) Unemployment at 9.1% 3) Lowest Consumer Confidence in decades 4) Lower Home Prices and 5) Wasted $800 Billion Stimulus for Not Shovel Ready Jobs. Obama is a FAILURE and a LIAR.

    August 7, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  16. CBH2

    Congratulations Tea Party! You're one step closer to bringing the U.S. (and world) economy to Colonial levels (circa 1775). That's why you wear those ridiculous colonial outfits right?

    August 7, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  17. TheTraveler

    You know, I really don't care about all the finger pointing and blame casting ... They did this, he said that, she said that doesn't fix ANYTHING. If these people, whom we supposedly elected to take care of the country, would spend less time in blame and denial, we might actually get the country's issues fixed and get the US back on track.

    I will get up in the morning, go to work just like I've done for the last 40 years, and carry on like everything is all right. I don't get to go to my boss and spend the day whining and complaining. I have to produce and do my job or I'm out of a job. My boss doesn't care too much about the sniveling I could do, his expectation is that I do my job and we stay in the black and out of the red. Otherwise, I can walk with a pink slip in one hand and my last paycheck in the other.

    My message to the people we have elected to manage this country: Your pink slips are waiting .... Your choice.

    August 7, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  18. abby1

    I blame the downgrade on the Tea Party politicians. If these politicians had not dragged out the process for so long, we would not have been down graded. Instead, they had to play their political shenanigans and get on their soap box. Instead of thinking about the country as a whole, they had to make sure their political careers get a boost from their extremist supporters. Also, they made this country's political process look bad internationally.

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

    In 2006 then Senator Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling when the debt was approximately half of what it is today and the Tea Party did not exist. Only a nation with extreme media bias would allow this most obvious of all hypocrisies to pass without Obama being shamed into oblivion.

    August 7, 2011 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  20. uFools

    Thed Voters are not amused by the finger opointing. Get it done!

    August 7, 2011 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  21. Mikey K.

    This is deplorable. After being rebuked for partisan bickering, this 'senior advisor' to the President (reflecting, no doubt, the 'line' that we will be hearing from this economically-challenged administration) chooses to blame the Tea Party. Frankly, S&P, China, Russia and, shortly, the G7 will all be correct in decrying the U.S. disease – borrowing endlessly to fund social programs it cannot afford, a bloated government that must be massively shrunk, with a special-interests-riddled Tax Code, runaway public funding for 'green' energy, etc. The left used to lament Karl Rove. While clearly partisan, Mr. Rove never stooped to the levels of hyper-partisanship displayed by this clown, and his ilk in the current, most embarassing White House. Step One to solving the problems would be deep-sixing Mr. Axelrod from anything to do with anything policy-wise or otherwise.

    August 7, 2011 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  22. Hot Dog

    He's right. Congress was warned by S&P to take an agressive approach towards or national debt but they did not do so. The Republicans tried to get politcal points from this issue but fail in their efforts. Not to mention the fact that those in the Tea Party signed an pledge that was not in the best interest of the country. Also, many of them believed that if Congress did not reach a deal by 8/2/2011 that the country would go into default. Boehner said he got 98% of what he wanted. You be the judge.

    August 7, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  23. John N Florida

    "I got 98% of what I wanted. I'm satisfied." – John Boehner
    #1 Priority for the Republicans; get Obama out.
    No jobs bills (keeps unemployment up), weak economic policy (the House writes the bills), no compromise -and blame it all on the President.

    August 7, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  24. maquignon

    It is the left wing liberals and people like Axelrod that pushed this country to the brink. THANK GOD FOR THE TEAPARTY. Without them we would still be blithely spending ourselves into oblivion. Now, at least we are TALKING about reducing the debt. (We still aren't DOING anything.) A REDUCTION IN THE RATE OF GROWTH OF THE DEFICIT IS NOT A REDUCTION IN THE DEFICIT!!!!. STOP LYING!!!!

    August 7, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  25. Cate596

    Lindsay Graham is insane!! I seem to remember President Obama offering larger cuts, but Republicans wanted to protect their rich friends at ALL costs!!! He has amnesia!!

    August 7, 2011 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
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