President Barack Obama’s chief political strategist on Friday slammed his Bush administration counterpart Karl Rove for allegedly making up “his own facts” about Democrats.
In an op-ed published in the Washington Post, David Axelrod accused Rove of hypocrisy and “shamelessness” for insinuating Sunday in a Post expose that Congressional Democrats “will run up more debt by October than Bush did in eight years.”
“[G]iven the shape in which the last administration left this country, I’m not sure I would solicit his advice,” Axelrod wrote.
Axelrod slammed the “spending spree” of Rove’s former boss President George W. Bush, noting that he turned a “$236 billion budget surplus” into a “$1.3 trillion deficit” by the time he left office.
“During eight years in office, the Bush administration passed two major tax cuts skewed to the wealthiest Americans, enacted a costly Medicare prescription-drug benefit and waged two wars, without paying for any of it,” he said.
Axelrod claimed the previous administration’s “fiscal responsibility” helped bring about the recession of 2008 and Obama’s stimulus package “helped save our economy from an even deeper disaster.”
“There’s an old saying that everyone is entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts,” Axelrod said. “I’d urge [Rove] to take that to heart.”
Axelrod said Obama’s health care plan won’t add to the deficit over time — as predicted by the Congressional Budget Office — but didn’t point out that the deficit for the 2009 fiscal year totaled $1.4 trillion.
Obama pledged last February to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term.
“It will take time to redirect its course,” Axelrod wrote in Friday’s Post op-ed. “But the course correction that was so badly needed after the previous administration has begun in earnest.”
Polls have shown the deficit to be a high concern among voters.
Rove has frequently cited the rising deficit in his fierce criticisms for Obama and Democrats on television and in his Wall Street Journal column. Republican leaders and conservative public figures have made Obama’s spending habits a central target of their attacks.
Democrats and progressives have called such claims hypocritical in light of the GOP’s longstanding record of heavy spending.
Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel told Rove last year that it’s “laughable to hear talk about fiscal responsibility from someone who helped plunge this nation into a trillion dollars of debt.”