Very important insights. Thank you. Someone needs to tell O-Reilly and Hannity!
I think part of the reason that people still believe that Obama is the biggest spender of all is that he's added so much to the national debt. But, that has more to do with the drop off in revenues than it does even with TARP and stimulus (no matter how you account for those two).
On the other hand, I've never focused on the immediate deficit (remember that the deficit is the annual number, not the accumulated debt), but rather on the unfunded liabilities of Medicare and Social Security (and some other stuff that's far less important numerically, like the coming plague of Obamacare). There's where most Republicans run away like frightened children and where very few Democrats are willing to tread.
None of this excuses Obama's blatant corruption in how and on what he spent the money, such as redirecting TARP to bail out auto unions and using the stimulus to prop up losers in the solar industry that just happened to be operated by his friends. But, my Democrat friends will point to Halliburton, so maybe we're even.