Posted by on August 10, 2011 in Blog

GOP presidential candidates have all weighed in on the debt issue, declaring almost unanimously that President Obama is solely to blame for allowing the national debt spin out of control, leading to the downgrade of our Standard & Poor’s credit rating from AAA to AA+. But is this a viable assessment or just more political rhetoric?

When we look at the language of the S&P’s announcement to downgrade our rating, it’s quite clear that their reasons for changing our credit rating are less about our ability to pay our bills and more about our perceived willingness to do so, and they lay the blame on a much wider swath of the American political spectrum. Consider the following S&P statement compared to the various Presidential candidates…who do you think got it right?

Excerpt from the S&P statement:

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. The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy … [This] weakens the government’s ability to manage public finances …”


Michele Bachman:

Tonight’s decision by S&P to downgrade our credit rating to AA+ is a historically significant and serious event for the United States. The United States has had a AAA credit rating since 1917. That rating has endured the great depression, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the terrorist attacks on 9/11. This President has destroyed the credit rating of the United States through his failed economic policies and his inability to control government spending by raising the debt ceiling.” Source


Herman Cain

“On Tuesday, April 19, 2011, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner promised that America faced ‘no risk’ of a credit downgrading. Less than six months later, he is proven shamefully wrong. As I have feared for months, the S&P has chosen to downgrade America’s credit rating from AAA, which we have always enjoyed, to AA+.

“Perhaps this is because the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats never once demonstrated a willingness to propose its own ideas for meaningful spending cuts, something credit agencies signaled were necessary to redeem America’s financial standing in the world.” Source


Mitt Romney

“Standard & Poor’s rating downgrade is a deeply troubling indicator of our country’s decline under President Obama. His failed policies have led to high unemployment, skyrocketing deficits, and now, the unprecedented loss of our nation’s prized AAA credit rating.”

“Standard and Poor’s, one of the rating agencies, just downgraded their view of the future for America. If you will, they downgraded the Obama presidency,” Source

Jon Huntsman

“Out-of-control spending and a lack of leadership in Washington have resulted in President Obama presiding over the first downgrade of the United States credit rating in our history. For far too long we have let reckless government spending go unchecked and the cancerous debt afflicting our nation has spread.” Source


Tim Pawlenty

“This is a sad moment for the United States, but it's a reflection that our country is in trouble. President Obama is inept when it comes to creating the conditions or job creation and economic growth. It's time for a new direction and a new President.” Source


Newt Gingrich

“The S&P downgrade of America’s credit worthiness and its admonishment of the Obama deficits are sober warnings that if Congress and the Administration does not get our fiscal house back in order, we will inevitably be facing a catastrophic financial crisis.” Source

On Twitter:

“The Obama disaster continue. Highest food stamp level and lowest credit rating in history in the same 24 hours.” Source


Ron Paul

“Unfortunately, the game in Washington has been one of partisan blaming and bipartisan out-of-control spending. America has been dealing with this severe economic crisis for years because the Washington establishment failed to focus on the true issues at hand: a declining dollar and out-of-control spending." Source


Rick Santorum

“There are 14 million people out of work and looking to the White House for answers — but they are receiving nothing but a blank stare. The markets are scared, and the credit downgrade has happened because the president and this Congress continue to address the symptoms and not the disease.” Source