Democrats rail, tweet against S&P

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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Democratic National Committee communications director Brad Woodhouse created a new Twitter hashtag Friday night to criticize Standard & Poor’s, as Democrats railed against the credit rating powerhouse for its decision to downgrade the U.S. government’s fiscal status.

Woodhouse tweeted out his support for the hashtag #DowngradeSandP to his 3,841 followers, including many reporters, bloggers, Democratic activists and TV personalities. “Who rates S&P?” he tweeted. “A $2 trillion error and their abysmal failure during the financial crisis – someone should downgrade them.”

The DNC communications chief’s effort to rally public opposition to S&P reinforced Democrats’ pushback, which included White House pressure and a public rebuke from officials at the Treasury Department.

Department officials said the ratings firm miscalculated the government’s fiscal position by about $2 trillion. S&P told the federal government of this evening’s downgrade at 2:00 p.m. EDT, but refused to change its plans after being told of the error, said a federal official.

CBS Radio White House correspondent Mark Knoller reported, also via Twitter, that “a ‘source familiar with the matter’ says the Treasury Dept found S&P made a significant error in its initial justification for downgrading … [but then] S&P turned to political justifications by which to downgrade US Treasury securities.”