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. GI Joe

    The 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 |
  2. GI Joe

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

    August 7, 2011 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  3. Alina77

    No way, Tea Party's fault? I thought it was an American voters fault., I call lust November a 'mass self November" , and more to come....

    August 7, 2011 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  4. Tea Party Mike

    Axelrod must be kidding. Is he that stupid? More likely he is just lying.
    The S & P down graded the US credit rating because the two parties could not agree on deficit reduction that was large enough.
    Progressive Democrats have been screaming through the whole process that they wanted a clean debt ceiling bill with zero defict reduction attached. The S & P needs more reduction not zero. If the Democrats had gotten their way we still get a downgrade.
    Tea Party voted against the debt ceiling bill becasue it was not adequate. Progressive Democrats voted agianst the bill becasue it cut too much. S & P agrees with the Tea Party on the count.
    The only bills that have been passed that would have been adequate were written by Republicans and passed in the House and killed by the Senate Democrats. Obama threatend a veto.
    Democrats do not want to cut any spending which is why they have not passed a budget for over two years, they do not want the public to see the massive deficits their out of control spending budget would generate over the next 10 years.
    Democrats want to expire the Bush tax cut rates for the rich and have specifed some tax breaks they want to end. The Bush tax cuts are worth 700 billion and the tax breaks they keep talking about are worth about 2 to 5 billion. That is all they ever really wanted to do. That by it's self is not enough to satify S & P, not even enough to cover half of the additional reduction the S & P is looking for on top of the reductions in the debt ceiling bill.
    Democrats have no plan and no solution, so they talk about blame instead of what is needed to really save this nation from economic ruin.

    August 7, 2011 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  5. GI Joe

    We need revenues raised and since the "job creators" are not parting with any of their profits to create jobs, then the only other thing to do is to close all the loopholes.

    August 7, 2011 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  6. NVa Native

    It's not called blaming – HE'S STATING THE OBVOIUS!
    Tea-baggers are a cancer on the Repub party that is screwing up our nation.

    August 7, 2011 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  7. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    Repealing the Bush tax cuts for the Wealthy AND cutting back on spending would be about equal to me working overtime to bring in more money AND spending less (and more intelligently).

    The idea that more revenue will not bring down the debt defies LOGIC (doesn't it?)!

    August 7, 2011 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  8. davegeorgia

    silly bo the ZERO blaming S&P for the downgrade rating, Beers at S&P says the bo admin made a COMPLETE MISREPRESENTATION of the S&P report which also the characterization by the bo admin was false, axelrod blames the TEA PARTY? that does not face the straight face test, this is more of the misleading bo vitriol and blame game, the reason this bo admin must go, impeach indict incarcerate, no mo bo the ZERO in 2012

    August 7, 2011 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  9. meb

    S&P stated that the downgrade happened because the deal that was signed did not deal well enough with the debt issue AND did not allow for increased revenue (i.e. tax increases). The AND is mutually inclusive which means that the deal should done both. Since the one thing that the Repubs (by way of the tea party) would not agree to was tax increases. The WH was taking heat from Liberals over putting SS and Medicare on the table. Their stance was to putt SS and Medicare reform on the table as long as tax increase was a part of the deal. The WH was willing to compromise in a way that would have prevented the downgrade, while this "no tax increase ever" mentality from the Repubs (via the tea party) is what made doing the right thing impossible.

    To ask why the Dems don't take responsibility for anything is stupid. Why would you take responsibility for something that is not your fault.That's like asking someone to take responsibility for murder when they did not kill the person. If the Dems were the ones holding out and being uncompromising, then I would be criticizing them. However, the WH put SS and Medicare on the table. They came more than half way in compromising. The other side refuse to budge on the tax increase.

    S&P also stated that the downgrade happened because "The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America's governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed." This means that waiting till the last minute to get a deal done shows that you have bigger problems and are not willing to work together. Again, who was not willing to compromise. The answer is without a doubt, the tea party. Anyone with half a brain knows this. The fact that almost 70% of Americans believed that entitlements and tax increase needed to be apart of the compromise, the only side that put their sacred cow on the table was the WH. The Repubs would not even consider tax increases.

    August 7, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  10. Doug

    Anyone ever hear of the debt/service ratio ? It is the ratio that measures the ability to service the interest on the debt. Here in the US our debt service ratio measures the interest of 270 billion dollars against the GNP, which is slightly over 15 trillion. It comes out to be about 1.7 % . This is chicken feed. It is the 2nd lowest ratio in 20 years. Many european countries have a debt/service ration of 80 percent. Some triple A ratings with 60 percent (UK). So why are we downgraded to an AA+ rating when our debt service ratio is only at 1.7 %? This is all political theater. Not to say that 14 trillion is not a lot of borrowed money, but when the debt service ratio is ONLY 1.7 %, it is not a crisis...yet. It will be if the US ever winds up like Greece , which can no longer service its debt. But 1.7 % gives US a lot of wiggle room.

    August 7, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  11. Andrew

    Man do republicans have shoddy memories. They fail to recall that during the Bush era they controlled congress and the presidency whilst raising the debt limit 7 times so they could cut taxes while simultaneously waging 2 land wars in the Mideast. Now all of the sudden they are fiscal conservatives, give me a break.

    August 7, 2011 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  12. Pete

    Regardless of whether one approves of Pres. Obama or not he did get it right when he said something like, "Americans voted for divided government but not dysfunctional government." Plenty of blame for this to go around, not limited to any party or person(s). It's the system, stupid! And as Lincoln said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." whether over slavery or debt or you name it.

    August 7, 2011 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  13. Juan Rodriguez

    Wow the tea party had a lot more power than I gave them credit for, I'm impressed.

    August 7, 2011 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  14. Charlie in Maine

    There are three groups to balme for this:
    1. The Tea Party for forcing Bonhner out of good faith negotiation.
    2. The GOP for letting this monster they created try to kill the economy
    3. Anyone who agrees with the first two and did not bother to vote in the last election.
    All that is needed for evil to win is for decent folks to do nothing. Don't be one of them in the next election.

    August 7, 2011 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  15. Tea Party Mike

    The Tea party is not to blame. In fact because of the Tea Party there was at least some deficit reduction. Democrats wanted a clean bill with no defict reduction.
    Becuase of the efforts of the Tea Party and Republicans we are at least closer to a solution, not farther away.
    Democrats lie and distort what the Tea Party stands for becacuse they are terified they are right. The CBO says the current deficits are dangerous and unsustainable. S & P has downgraded the US credit rating for the same reason. The Tea Party rose up over two years ago when the Democrats had the guts to pass their last budget and it was scored by the CBO with almost trillion dollar deficits for the next decade. That on top of TARP and the stimulus was the last straw for those who idenifty as part of the Tea Party. Democrats have called the Tea Party every name in the book. But the Tea Party knows they are right, we have to fix the out of control spending and deficits. Does not matter who's fault they are, they have to be fixed. With out the Tea Party nothing would be changed and Democrats would be leading us to financial ruin. The progressive Democrat bit government party is over and they are scared to death of the Tea Party because they are leading the effort to end the party.

    August 7, 2011 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  16. meb

    Also, those that are defending the Tea Party's stance. How can you when most of the Tea Party were saying that they were hoping that we would default. They are on record saying this and you all have the nerve to say that the President/Dems should accept responsibility. Give me a break. The fact that our debt is due to all administrations since George Washington, means that all parties are responsible for getting us to this point. However, the deal that could have saved us from a downgrade was disallowed by the Republicans/Tea Party for their unwillingness to consider revenue increases. Also, a balanced budget sounds good, but it does nothing for decreasing the national debt. If you only spend what you take in, you end up with a balance of zero. What is left over to bring the debt down. You have to take in more than you spend and apply that extra to paying down the principle of your debt.

    August 7, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  17. Robert from Canada

    In 1997 Canada went from AAA to AA+. After much painful reducing of our spending we regained our AAA rating. The US can also do it, but it will take time and require politicians to put the good of the country ahrad of their political aspirations.

    August 7, 2011 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  18. anthony

    No matter which Party you claim, you would be living in obvious denial if you didnt believe the Tea Party were responsible for this downgrade. Read the S&P report. Its spelled out pretty clearly. It was a trust issue. And they felt they couldnt trust the decision making (and pledge making) coming from the right, to ever get to a satisfactory result needed to maintain the AAA grade. Or you can lie to yourself and continue to take shots at the Libs and your President from the cheap seats. Shouldve cut spending AND ended the tax loop holes... but dont let logic or the facts get in the way of your message board posts.

    August 7, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  19. Jane

    Surely you would not expect these fools to take responsibility. Another issue with this administration but on your big man pants and quit blaming others. You take the job you take the crap that goes with it.

    August 7, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  20. Bill 55

    Read this today:

    "...Compared with previous (AAA) projections, our revised base case scenario (AA+) now assumes that the 2001 and 2003 (Bush) tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012, remain in place. We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues...."

    Nice job Boener!!

    August 7, 2011 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  21. reader10

    Axelrod is a Chicago politician.If you don't agree with him or do not vote for him,he will NOT pick up your GARBAGE.

    August 7, 2011 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  22. cj

    This administration is absurd and reckless. Obama should be impeached.

    August 7, 2011 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  23. Bill 55

    The Republicans have controlled the House for a year. Where are the Jobs? Where is this recovery, Michelle Bachman?
    The TP is a joke!

    August 7, 2011 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  24. Victoria

    The tea party was the group that openly expressed willingness to not pay bills that are due. Openly discuss their willingness to not make payments on money already borrowed. And you think that won't affect the credit rating? Treating their duty to manage the American people's money like some kind of audition for the "Jerry Springer Show."

    August 7, 2011 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  25. Jan

    Boehner, Cantor, McConnell and the rest of the gop cabal are responsible for the debt, yet act as if they bear no responsibility whatsoever. They are the masters of deflection. The S&P clearly stated in their explanation that the reckless hostage taking by the tea baggers is the prime reason for the downgrade. This is reality. Read the statement. The tea baggers have done a lot damage in their short time in office – they cost us all thousands in the stock market plunge and now the credit rating downgrade. Nice job tea baggers. That's what you get when you vote loud mouth blowhard idiots into office. For all the knee-jerk voters and those that chose to stay home...thanks.

    August 7, 2011 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
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