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David Axelrod: This Is A 'Tea Party Downgrade'

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WASHINGTON — A top White House adviser is blaming the downgrade of the U.S. credit rating on Tea Party Republicans, whom he says were unwilling to compromise on how to reduce the federal debt.

The adviser to President Barack Obama, David Axelrod, tells CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that the decision by the Standard & Poor's credit agency to downgrade the U.S. from AAA to AA+ for the first time was strongly influenced by weeks of standoff between Democrats and Republicans over the debt.

Axelrod calls the action, in his words, "a Tea Party downgrade" and says it's clearly on the backs of lawmakers who were willing to see the country default to get their way.

Axelrod also criticized GOP presidential candidates for not speaking up in favor of compromise.

The Hill reported on Saturday on growing frustration among progressives over the president's soft response to the role of the Tea Party in the deficit debate:

Republicans and Democrats have unleashed fusillades of attack against each other in the wake of the announcement but Obama has stayed quiet, frustrating his party’s base.

Howard Dean, former chair of the Democratic National Committee, didn't hold back in taking aim at the conservative coalition of activists during an appearance on "Face the Nation" on Sunday morning.

"This is a Tea Party problem," he said on the program. "They are totally unreasonable and doctrinaire and not founded in reality. I think they've been smoking some of that tea, not just drinking it."

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