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Bachmann Claims ‘S&P Essentially Proved Me Right’ — S&P Really Disagrees

By Pat Garofalo on August 12, 2011 at 9:35 am

"Bachmann Claims ‘S&P Essentially Proved Me Right’ — S&P Really Disagrees"

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Last night, during both the GOP presidential primary debate and a post-debate interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) claimed that S&P’s downgrade of the United States creditworthiness vindicated her position that the debt ceiling should not have been raised. “Standard & Poor’s essentially proved me right,” she told Hannity, after telling the debate audience that the S&P downgrade came about because the agency said “we don’t have an ability to repay our debt”:

We just heard from Standard & Poor’s, when they dropped our credit rating and what they said is we don’t have an ability to repay our debt. That’s what the final word was from them. I was proved right in my position. We should not have raised the debt ceiling.

Watch it:

After this performance, it’s blatantly clear that Bachmann has no idea what S&P said, because just about every word out of her mouth regarding the agency’s decision was incorrect. For starters, S&P never said “we don’t have an ability to pay our debt.” After all, the agency still rates the U.S. as AA+, meaning it has a “very strong capacity to meet financial commitments.” One S&P analyst characterized the difference between AA+ and AAA as just “degrees of excellence.”

Furthermore, the reasons that S&P issued the downgrade — as it clearly laid out in its release on the subject — were the use of the debt ceiling as a political football and GOP intransigence on taxes. As National Journal put it, “It’s hard to read the S&P analysis as anything other than a blast at Republicans.”

A Standard & Poor’s director added one more justification to the mix yesterday, saying “that one reason the United States lost its triple-A credit rating was that several lawmakers expressed skepticism about the serious consequences of a credit default”:

Without specifically mentioning Republicans, S&P senior director Joydeep Mukherji said the stability and effectiveness of American political institutions were undermined by the fact that “people in the political arena were even talking about a potential default,” Mukherji said.

“That a country even has such voices, albeit a minority, is something notable,” he added. “This kind of rhetoric is not common amongst AAA sovereigns.”

Of course, one of those people expressing skepticism about the severe consequences of not raising the debt ceiling was none other than Michele Bachmann.

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