Lesson not learned: Partisan bickering rages on

All eyes turn to Wall Street Monday morning, as investors brace for the fallout from the downgrade of U.S. credit. Stocks lost nearly $1 trillion in value last week, and that was before Standard & Poor's cut America's credit rating for the first time in history.

The head of S&P's ratings committee said Sunday, if the U.S. doesn't clean up its fiscal act, there is "at least a 1 in 3 chance" it could be downgraded again within 6 months.

S&P has blamed partisan bickering in Washington in part for its decision. CBS News correspondent Whit Johnson reports that the bickering continued anyway on Sunday.

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Howard Dean said all Republicans should be fired. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said the Obama administration is failing.

Dean and Graham joined politicians from all over Washington, Democrats and Republicans, picking their targets.

"This is a tea party problem. I think they've been smoking some of that tea, not just drinking it," Dean said.

"This president has failed to lead and in any other private sector enterprise he would have been fired," Graham said.

It all amounted to nothing more than partisan shots, after a rollercoaster week of economic news.

On Monday, Congress raises the debt ceiling, averting a potential government default. On Thursday, the Dow plunges 500 points. On Friday, there was a better-than-expected jobs report; Unemployment dipped to 9.1 percent.

Then Friday night, America's credit was downgraded to double-A plus, for the first time ever.

"Our urgent mission has to be getting this economy growing faster and creating jobs," President Barack Obama said afterward.

Back from a weekend at Camp David, President Obama has a jobs making "to-do" list for lawmakers when they return from recess: Pass a set of trade agreements with South Korea, Columbia, and Panama that he claims would create 70,000 new jobs; Approve a highway transportation bill, putting construction workers back on the job; And move on a new tax credit encouraging companies to hire veterans.

However, recently Congress has focused more on spending cuts than investing in the workforce, and there is little sign of common ground with the rhetoric growing louder by the day.

"There's a lot of dysfunction in our system and a lot of it has to do with the failure of the president," Republican Senator John McCain said recently.

"I believe this is without question 'the tea party downgrade'," said Democratic Senator John Kerry.

There was at least one sign of stability on Sunday afternoon, however, as President Obama learned he'll keep one of his key administration allies. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has agreed to stay on the job through the 2012 election.

  • Whit Johnson

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