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. jefflz

    S&P demonstrated their complete corruptibility in the role they played by giving AAA ratings to junk during the run-up to the 2008 Crash. Their decision to lower the US credit rating is clearly political and not economic in nature as witnessed by their refusal to correct their errors. We must ask who has bought them off this time? Who gains most by a downgrade?

    We have entered a period of leadership vacuum since Obama has shown no willingness to stand up for the people. He prefers backroom deals with Republican "terrorists" who hold him in complete contempt. This has opened the door to the Tea Part Crazies and their powerful backers like the Koch brothers who will do anything to bring down the Obama administration.

    August 7, 2011 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  2. Mary

    The teaparty wanted us to default, that was the reason for the downgrade....There is no defense for this, all of america wittnesed it....

    August 7, 2011 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  3. JillBo

    And to those calling Tea Party members patriots, I guess civility only applies to those who agree with you.

    August 7, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. nathan

    I never really knew what HATE felt like until the Tea Party came into existence.

    August 7, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  5. Doug

    According to the statement released by Standard and Poor's, the 2 major reasons for the downgrade were :
    A.) Too much polititcal dischord (which is the fault of both parties) and B. (and this is the real kicker) There was no addition of any revenue cited in the Debt Ceiling Agreement. This pretty much puts the onus on the Republican party and its tea party minions. With the polls agreeing that there needed to be a balanced compromise (spending cuts and additional revenue) by as much as 67 percent , I think this is going to spell disaster for the tea party in the next election cycle, particularly among Independents who seem to suffer from the 2 year Fickle-itis.

    August 7, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  6. JillBo

    jb1963 – That is so funny. Obama is the incompetent leader of the incompetent party. Where is your budget?

    August 7, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  7. Mira

    well, you didn't really think that anyone in this administration was gonna "man up" and take responsibility did you?

    August 7, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  8. Rick

    One of MANY Tea Party disasters to come. Stay tuned.

    August 7, 2011 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. Livin' the good life.

    It is everyones fault! The people in Congress and the people who put them there. NO politician is going to be concerned about ANYTHING EXCEPT your vote and once they are in office, THEIR POCKETS. How some people FAIL to see through them is beyond me. We need to ask some serious questions the next election and NOT follow the ones who pander to what we [think we] want to hear! These people continue to screw the Americans and are ONLY looking out for THEMSELVES and their golden parachutes. What else can be said? They ARE ONLY OUT TO FILL THEIR POCKETS with retirement money and DO NOT CARE how the rest of us survive. PERIOD.

    August 7, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  10. dude123

    Those crazy terrorist Tea Partiers and their wild-eyed insistence that the government spend no more than it brings in. LUNATICS!

    August 7, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  11. Dan J

    What, he can't blame Bush now?

    August 7, 2011 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  12. Dan J

    I'm so sick of these liberal terrorists.

    August 7, 2011 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  13. CEL1

    Senator Graham, being from South Carolina, would obviously defend the Tea Party. America doesn;t need a debt ceiling at all, what we need is a balanced budget each year. As long as we don;t spend any more than we take in, we;re fine. But, the Republi-cons and Tea Baggers won't step up and cut defense spending and foreign aid. Washington needs to be cleaned out, starting with the conservatives, followed closely by the rest of those thieves.

    August 7, 2011 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  14. Dean

    He is absolutely out of his mind. To even consider the Tea Party is to blame for a downgrade is insane. This is the product of a spending problem from both sides of the isle. From W to Obama period and for this man to even speculate and point fingers is further more proof for myself I made a mistake when I voted for Obama. I rarely comment but reading this was too much. It is clear we have a spending problem, we have too many takers and not enough givers for what we promise. The Tea party may be brash and a little radical, but their message was fairly clear and late in the game. This problem was evident long before them, so to blame them and not acknowledge we have a problem is borderline crazy.

    August 7, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  15. Helmetbreaker

    If anyone believes in the reality that $20 trillion + in debt in ten years is a not a significant crisis, you had better absolve your self from fantasy now. The Tea Party seems to be the only sane ones in DC. The Republicans want cuts, but not what is near necessary and the Dumbocrats want to keep spending and buying votes with their social programs. If you take into consideration the IOU's in SS, Medicaid and Medicare, the debt is really $211 trillion! Both partie's members are more concerned about keeping their kushy jobs and power than the fate of this country. A short while down the road, every penny the rich have will not bail us out of calamity. The private sector is not going to justify adding people when the demand isn't there and Obama's threat of taxes and more regulations is compounding the issue. We are now at a point that 47% of Americans don't pay taxes, thanks to years of government dole outs, Obama's defeat in 2012 can't come too soon! And the DC entrenched Republicans had better get their heads out of the sand too!

    August 7, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  16. Dean

    President Obama speaks of change, but its status quo. We were fooled once again. For him to even let Axlerod speak is just furthermore proof he is not serious or consistent with the message he gives us. Mr. President lets work getting the message about a solution not pointing fingers.

    August 7, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  17. Steffie

    While I fully agree with Mr. Axelrod, much as it pains me to say it, I fault Pres. Obama for the quandary he now finds himself in. Not because he did he bad job at the helm of this country, but because he time after time blatenly failed to stand up to the bullies w/in the Rep. party. Politics, like boxing, Mr. Pres., is a blood sport; you must know that better than anyone of us, message posters. Once your oponent in the ring has busted your lip or cut you over the eye, he will keep hitting you on that particular sore spot over and over again b/c he wants to win. At that point you have two choices: you can let your opponent keep hitting you until your manager throws in the towel, or worst still, you hit the canvas. Or, you can defend yourself to the best of your abilities and, in the end, still come out on top. So for God's sake, Mr. Pres., DEFEND YOURSELF!

    August 7, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  18. vabonp

    While blaming the downgrade on the Tea Party may play well with the far left, it won't compute with the center. To those on Wall Street it wasn't if the US was going to be downgraded, it was only a matter of when. It sounds to me as if the Dems want to blame all the bad economic news on someone other than themselves.

    August 7, 2011 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  19. larry

    Axlerod is a loser and will blame everyone exceprt the one that should be blamed, the Obama administration!!!

    August 7, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  20. JP

    So it's the fault of the people who think we spend too much, no it's the fault of the people who spend too much. I bet if Obama resigned that would be an automatic upgrade from S&P.

    August 7, 2011 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  21. Elaine

    Wrong Axerold, odumbo is to blame for this -hit, he's the so-call president and this is all his fault....the first president in the history of the united states to loose AAA credit rating, sorry the way, how's the hope and change thang going...

    August 7, 2011 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  22. Dean

    It is very hard to stand up for yourself when you do not have a just cause to motivate you to come back. Even in boxing you have your dignity, but in politics if you know the opponent has a point without being dishonest how can you defend yourself. Obama simply knows the Tea Party has a point, there is a flaw in the spending practices and checks and balances in the system. He is not folding more than admitting he has a serious problem on his hands and furthermore the people are now aware of it in a way like never before.

    August 7, 2011 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  23. Jerry

    Blows people's minds! Before it was all Bush's fault. Wow! Now it's Tea Party's fault. These NObama buffoons are really loosing their grip. It's been over three years. When is the NObama administration going to stop their lies and assume responsibility for the mess that they have created in America.

    America, PLEASE remember 2012!

    August 7, 2011 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  24. Judy75201

    I've known since the town halls that were hijacked by the tea partiers that they cared naught for their fellow humans. Very low-brow group from everything I have seen.

    August 7, 2011 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  25. GI Joe

    Weeper of the House got 98% of what HE WANTED. So I'm assuming this was his plan all the time.

    August 7, 2011 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
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