Standard & Poor's downgrade of the U.S. government debt rating brought indignation from the Obama administration and finger pointing from leading Democrats and Republicans.
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Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann called for Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's resignation while House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Democrats "who run Washington remain unwilling to make the tough choices required to put America on solid ground."
The Obama administration took issue with S&P.
"A judgment flawed by a $2 trillion error speaks for itself, a Treasury spokeswoman said after S&P went ahead with lowering the debt rating a notch to AA+ from AAA despite a White House claim the ratings agency overstated future federal debt.
The S&P report cited "the gulf between the political parties" evidenced during last week's debt-ceiling debate that resulted in legislation designed to cut over $2.1 trillion over 10 years among its reasons for the first-time lowering, but GOP leaders laid the blame on President Barack Obama, according to reports from NBC News.Story: US government loses triple-A credit rating
"President Obama 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," said Bachmann, Minnesota Republican and GOP poll-leading candidate for her party's presidential nomination in 2012.
"President Obama is destroying the foundations of the U.S. economy one beam at a time," she said. "I call on the president to seek the immediate resignation of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner."
Boehner said Republicans have learned their lesson from out-of-control spending in Washington for decades.
"The spending binge has resulted in job-destroying economic uncertainty and now threatens to send destructive ripple effects across our credit markets, Boehner said.
"Republicans have listened to the voices of the American people and worked to bring the spending binge to a halt," Boehner said. "We are no longer debating how much to spend, but rather how much to cut. Unfortunately, decades of reckless spending cannot be reversed immediately, especially when the Democrats who run Washington remain unwilling to make the tough choices required to put America on solid ground."
"The administration and Democrats in Congress had sought an increase in the debt limit without any spending cuts or reforms. Republicans made clear the American people would not tolerate that and fought for the largest spending cuts possible. With the Budget Control Act, we made a positive first step toward reducing the debt, but much more must be done.
"As S&P noted, reforming and preserving our entitlement programs is the 'key to long-term fiscal sustainability,' " Boehner said.
Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty, former Minnesota governor, said the downgrade is "a reflection of the failed leadership of President Obama. He really is inept when it comes to the economy. He's had over three years of being president. Barack Obama has had his chance and it's not working."Story: Debt downgrade: Experts offer views on effects
Former Senator Rick Santorum, R-Penn., also a candidate, noted the downgrade "happened on the president's watch."
"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," Santorum said.
Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, blamed "the old crowd of elites" for offering "fake" budget cuts and tricks instead of taking "bold actions to reduce out-of-control government spending, and get the federal government out of the way of small business and entrepreneurs so that they can start hiring again."
Pelosi urges transparency
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., cited S&P's call for transparency in the work of a 12-member joint committee created to produce more than $1 trillion in additional savings over the next decade.
"Without regard or respect for the recent S&P comment on our nation's credit rating, it is important to note the role that transparency and accountability play in making their judgment," Pelosi said. "As S&P stated, 'The transparency and accountability of institutions bear directly on sovereign creditworthiness because they reinforce the stability and predictability both of political institutions and the political framework.'
"The American people are watching to see if the bipartisan Joint Committee will develop a plan to responsibly reduce the deficit in a balanced way while promoting economic growth and creating jobs."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the downgrade underscored the need for a "balanced approach to deficit reduction that combines spending cuts with revenue-raising measures" such as doing away with tax breaks for the wealthy and oil companies.
NBC News, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.