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Romney blows call on Obama’s budget-deficit record

By Steven Thomma, McClatchy Newspapers –

WASHINGTON — Throw the flag against: Mitt Romney.

Call: Offsides.

What happened: Romney claimed that President Barack Obama has doubled the federal budget deficit.

“He said he’d cut the deficit in half. He’s doubled it. He’s doubled it,” Romney told a rally Wednesday in Chandler, Ariz.

Why that’s wrong: Obama inherited a budget deficit that topped $1 trillion. He increased it, but nowhere near doubled it. The deficit doubled before he took office.

Two weeks before Obama became president, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported that the deficit for 2009 would reach $1.2 trillion, not counting anything that the new president and Congress did.

“The ongoing turmoil in the housing and financial markets has taken a major toll on the federal budget. CBO currently projects that the deficit this year will total $1.2 trillion, or 8.3 percent of GDP,” the CBO said on Jan. 7, 2009, referring to the gross domestic product.

“Under the assumption that current laws and policies remain in place (that is, not accounting for any new legislation), CBO estimates that the deficit this year will total $1.2 trillion, more than two and a half times the size of last year’s.”

The 2009 budget deficit ended up at $1.4 trillion. That was an increase of about $200 billion, or 16 percent. Not a doubling.

The 2010 deficit totaled $1.3 trillion. Still nowhere near double.

The 2011 deficit totaled $1.3 trillion. Same.

Penalty: Offsetting penalties, since Obama did fail to cut the deficit in half as he promised. No loss of yards. Repeat down.

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