Speaking in Iowa on Tuesday, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney suggested that President Barack Obama has “beef” with former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, which may have led him to abandon “the Clinton doctrine” of balancing budgets to counter-balance spending.
“President Obama tucked away the Clinton doctrine in his large drawer of discarded ideas, along with transparency and bipartisanship,” he said. “It’s enough to make you wonder if maybe it was a personal beef with the Clintons,” he said. “But probably that – it runs much deeper than that. President Obama is an old school liberal whose first instinct is to see free enterprise as the villain and government as the hero.”
Romney went on to say that he would put out the “prairie fire” of debt in America, and accused President Obama of driving up the national debt by more than $5 trillion. While it is true that the debt has grown by more than $5 trillion since the president took office in 2009, it is not true that Obama’s programs account for all or even most of that accumulation.
“There’s plenty of blame to go around for both parties. But in my years leading businesses, an Olympics and a state, I’ve learned one simple principle of leadership that never falters: Leaders lead,” Romney added. “I will lead us out of this debt and spending crisis.”
Most of President Obama’s direct contributions to the national debt stem from non-discretionary defense spending and stimulus programs initiated by President Bush. President Obama also added his own stimulus programs and introduced over $420 billion in tax cuts for middle class families and small businesses on top. Costs related to Obama’s health care reforms are actually much smaller than other major spending programs ongoing when he took office, including President Bush’s Medicare Part D.
Romney’s latest attack coincides with a new Republican attack ad that mocks Obama’s goal of cutting the deficit in half by the end of his first term. Obama explained in February that his promise went unfulfilled due to a recession much deeper and more destructive than anyone had expected.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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