White House Scorns S&P Downgrade When Standard & Poor's downgraded the U.S. government's credit rating, the Treasury Department and White House responded swiftly with criticism. Guest host John Ydstie talks with NPR's National Political Correspondent Don Gonyea about that response.
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White House Scorns S&P Downgrade

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White House Scorns S&P Downgrade

White House Scorns S&P Downgrade

White House Scorns S&P Downgrade

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When Standard & Poor's downgraded the U.S. government's credit rating, the Treasury Department and White House responded swiftly with criticism. Guest host John Ydstie talks with NPR's National Political Correspondent Don Gonyea about that response.

JOHN YDSTIE, Host:

In a moment, and we'll hear how countries overseas are reacting to the news. But joining us now is NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea. Hi, Don.

DON GONYEA: Hey. Good morning, John.

YDSTIE: Don, there was some push-back from the White House and Department of Treasury about this decision. They said S&P's analysis was flawed and based on math errors.

GONYEA: So, Don, how does this news change the political landscape and the mood for GOP presidential candidates?

YDSTIE: Well, welcome to this week's storyline on the campaign trail. And it is a big week on the campaign trail. This is - let's call it Iowa week. On Thursday night there's a candidates debate in Des Moines. The Iowa State Fair, which is a huge event in pre-caucus years, starts on Thursday as well. And then it all builds up to Saturday's Ames straw poll, which is the first real test for the candidates.

GONYEA: There's been widespread condemnation by the Republican hopefuls of President Obama as having brought this on himself. Just here's just a sampling of reaction from Mitt Romney: Americans' credit worthiness just became the latest casualty in President Obamas failed record of leadership on the economy. Michele Bachmann says: President Obama is destroying the foundations of the U.S. economy, one beam at a time. And she calls for Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to step down. That's just a sampling, but a representative sampling, so this becomes the storyline of not just the next week, but the months ahead on the trail.

YDSTIE: So Don, I imagine there's a bit of a sense of foreboding in the White House ahead of the market openings around the world tonight and tomorrow?

GONYEA: They are watching things very closely. What they're doing is there trying to portray Standard & Poor's decision, the downgrade, as an outlier, noting that Moody's and the Fitch rating services haven't issued a downgrade. The White House says the lack of action by other ratings agencies does show that the collective judgment is that the U.S. is still very creditworthy.

YDSTIE: NPR's national political correspondent Don Gonyea. Thanks very much, Don.

GONYEA: Thank you.

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