Obama administration official calls S&P analysis 'way off'
August 5th, 2011
09:34 PM ET

Obama administration official calls S&P analysis 'way off'

The Obama administration angrily responded to Standard & Poor's decision Friday to downgrade the U.S. credit rating, with one senior official saying the agency's "analysis was way off."

U.S. Treasury officials received S&P's analysis Friday afternoon and alerted the agency to an error that inflated U.S. deficits by $2 trillion, said the administration official, who was not authorized to speak for attribution. The agency acknowledged the mistake, but said it was sticking with its decision to lower the U.S. rating from a top score of AAA to AA+.

"This is a facts-be-damned decision," the official said. "Their analysis was way off, but they wouldn't budge."

The White House is now in wait-and-see mode - hoping the decision and the S&P analysis face outside scrutiny, the official said.

"A judgment flawed by a $2 trillion error speaks for itself," a Treasury Department spokesperson said.

In July, S&P placed the United States' rating on "CreditWatch with negative implications" as the debt ceiling debate devolved into partisan bickering.

To avoid a downgrade, S&P said the United States needed to not only raise the debt ceiling, but also develop a "credible" plan to tackle the nation's long-term debt.

In announcing the downgrade, S&P cited "political risks, rising debt burden; outlook negative."

"The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government's medium-term debt dynamics," the agency said.

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who is among a field of Republican contenders for the 2012 presidential nomination, attributed the downgrade to "out-of-control spending and a lack of leadership in Washington."

"For far too long we have let reckless government spending go unchecked and the cancerous debt afflicting our nation has spread," he said in a statement. "We need new leadership in Washington committed to fiscal responsibility, a balanced budget, and job-friendly policies to get America working again."

CNN's John King and Dan Lothian contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Economy • Finance • U.S.
soundoff (197 Responses)
  1. Mmmmm

    The American people reconized when it is being bullied...this president will be two term and both houses will be cleaned...wallstreet won't have a bribing foothold...of course starting with the ALL republicans...

    August 6, 2011 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
    • D.M. Banister

      Is not this the same ratings agency that gave a AAA rating to those packaged mortgage securties that brought the world to its knees in 2008 ???????

      August 6, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Confucius

    @Mmmmmm: Both parties need an enema. Bailing out banks did nothing to increase job growth. Your blessed savior and his party had majority control recently and look how that worked. Instead of taking the car that was driving off the cliff and hitting the brakes they hit the gas and closed their eyes. You're quite the naive one.

    August 6, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. LyinKing

    Review a nationally known bank ranking/rating agency Weiss. Grading is A to E...A being the best. There is not "one" major US bank with presence offshore that has a rating better then D. All that stimulus money paid bonuses. Bank of America = D-, Wells Fargo = D, JP Morgan = D+, 5th/3rd = D, Regions = D...etc. Point? Where did the Stimulus go? AIG, Fannie/Freddie, Auto Industry, Cash for Clunkers...who knows? Add-on $1T in Obamacare you get a taste for where this goes. (The US is damn lucky it did not receive a "D" rating...it was deserved!)

    August 6, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. avatar42

    Funny they had no trouble rating the all those junk derivatives high when told to do so my Wall Street. Kind of makes you wonder about their motivation now. Here is a money saving idea. Since Obama is acting more GOP than Regan why doesn't he just run in the GOP primary and we can call that the election?

    August 6, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. icysilver

    lol i have no respect for obama or his opinions.. i cannot wait to vote at the next election and let my voice be heard.

    August 6, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Samuel, Paul & Sons

    S & P is not wrong in its evaluation of this country's credit.
    It would be foolish to lend money to many citizens of the USA.

    August 6, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. james r.

    Perhaps?, the IRS!!! should audit those persons at STANDARD & POORS responsible for crafting this downgrade of our nation's credit, wonder?, how many of them are profiting from an "artificially" low tax rate, brought to you my fellow americans, by the GOP & TEA PARTY.

    August 6, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
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