AXELROD SETS THE RECORD STRAIGHT…. The Washington Post recently invited various politicos to offer the Democratic Party advice for 2010. The paper ran a 211-word missive from Karl Rove, which blamed Democrats for creating the “mess” his former boss left for Dems to clean up. In particular, Rove blasted Democrats for “running up” the debt.

Today, David Axelrod, after noting the irony of the Post inviting Rove to give Democrats suggestions, sets the record straight in the same paper.

The day the Bush administration took over from President Bill Clinton in 2001, America enjoyed a $236 billion budget surplus — with a projected 10-year surplus of $5.6 trillion. When the Bush administration left office, it handed President Obama a $1.3 trillion deficit — and projected shortfalls of $8 trillion for the next decade. 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.

To put the breathtaking scope of this irresponsibility in perspective, the Bush administration’s swing from surpluses to deficits added more debt in its eight years than all the previous administrations in the history of our republic combined. And its spending spree is the unwelcome gift that keeps on giving: Going forward, these unpaid-for policies will continue to add trillions to our deficit.

This fiscal irresponsibility — and a laissez-faire attitude toward the excesses of the financial industry — helped create the conditions for the deepest economic catastrophe since the Great Depression.

Well, sure, if you want to bring reality into the debate.

Rumor has it the WaPo has already agreed to publish Rove’s response to Axelrod’s response to Rove’s initial claim.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. 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.