He can’t count, either

HE CAN’T COUNT, EITHER…. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, on Fox News yesterday:

“They love going back to George Bush and his deficit that was inherited. Great. I’ll take George Bush’s deficit right now of a trillion dollars over the 10 trillion dollars that this administration has created in just six months.”

Even for Steele, that’s pretty awful. Nate Carlile offers the confused party chair a quick primer on reality.

…Bush inherited a budget surplus of $128 billion in 2001. Budget experts projected a $710 billion surplus for 2009 when he came into office. But the deficit soon exploded, thanks largely to the Bush tax cuts — which accounted for 42 percent of the deficit. When Bush left office, he handed President Obama a projected $1.2 trillion budget deficit for this year, the largest ever.

As for the debt, when President Bush took office, it was $5.73 trillion. When he left, it was $10.7 trillion.

I can appreciate why the RNC might find these inconvenient details embarrassing. This is the party, after all, that pretends to care about deficits, fiscal discipline, and balanced budgets. If I were the head of the RNC, I’d have a hard time defending the Republican record on this, too.

But c’mon. Obama created a $10 trillion deficit in six months? If Steele wants to be taken at all seriously, he should at least try to come close to reality.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.