Byron York

Finally, there's the national debt. When Bush took office in January 2001, the debt was about $5.7 trillion, according to Treasury Department figures. When Bush was sworn in for his second term in January 2005, the debt stood at about $7.6 trillion. When Bush left office in January 2009, the debt was $10.6 trillion. He had increased the national debt almost $2 trillion in his first term and $3 trillion in his second, for a total increase of nearly $5 trillion over both terms. (Of that $3 trillion increase in Bush's second term, $2 trillion came under a Democratic Congress.)

The debt stood at $10.6 trillion when Barack Obama took office in January 2009. Now, it's about $14.4 trillion. The president has increased the national debt nearly $4 trillion in his first two and a half years in office. By the time Obama finishes his first term, he will have increased the national debt by somewhere in the $5 trillion-to-$6 trillion range -- more than Bush did in two terms.

None of this is to say that George W. Bush had a good record on spending. He didn't, and he's fair game for criticism. But is it honest to condemn reckless spending in "eight years of Republican rule" when Democrats controlled the Senate for four of those years and the House for two? Is it honest to talk about the "cost" of the Bush tax cuts when federal revenues increased significantly while they were in effect? And is it honest to refer to Bush's ballooning deficits when deficits actually trended down for much of his presidency -- at least before Democrats won control of Congress?

Of course Obama partisans would like to pin the president's troubles on Bush. But they should get their facts straight first.


Byron York

Byron York, chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner