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Axelrod: TEA movement could be 'unhealthy'

Axelrod: TEA movement could be 'unhealthy'
David Axelrod (L), senior advisor to President-elect Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel, Obama's chief of staff (UPI Photo/Brian Kersey) | License Photo

WASHINGTON, April 19 (UPI) -- The so-called "TEA Party" movement against taxes could become an "unhealthy" reaction to gloomy U.S. economic conditions, a White House adviser said.

In an appearance Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation" program, Senior White House Adviser David Axelrod said the Taxed Enough Already rallies across the nation last week should not have been directed at President Barack Obama's administration.

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"The thing that bewilders me is that this president just cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people," Axelrod argued. "I think the tea bags should be directed elsewhere because he certainly understands the burden that people face."

He said the TEA Party events, which were organized by the conservative group FreedomWorks, comes from a dissatisfaction with the economy that "can mutate into something that's unhealthy."

In the interview, Axelrod also addressed a proposed ban on assault-style weapons. He said now is not the time for Congress to tackle the controversial issue.

"The question is: Is there the consensus and the ability, given the rules of Congress and the realities of Congress, to move that in the midst of everything else that we have to do. Is that something that you want to embark on now?" he said.

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He also said the White House is "not at all" afraid of the National Rifle Association.

"The White House is interested in pursuing policies that we can enact quickly to deal with the issue of violence in this country, to deal with the issue of violence on the border. That means tightening enforcement," Axelrod said.

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