Seemingly forgetting the last four years, President Barack Obama tried to shift blame for future national debt onto GOP candidate Mitt Romney during tonight’s presidential debate in Denver.
Twice in the span of the first ten minutes, Obama accused GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney of having no plan to reduce the debt or deficit. Yet, during the last year, the national debt increased $1.2 trillion and has increased $5.3 trillion since Obama took office, bringing the total national debt to more than $16 trillion.
“There has to be revenue in addition to cuts. Now, Governor Romney has ruled out revenue,” Obama said, arguing that Romney’s plan is unworkable.
An astonished Romney reminded the President that he was the man without a plan and that he did not keep his promise to cut the deficit in half during his first term, rather he has increased it.
“You’ve been President four years. You said you’d cut the deficit in half. It’s now four years later; we still have trillion-dollar deficits,” Romney charged.
The accusations continued throughout the debate, and it turned into an all-out brawl and arguably became the biggest topic during the first half of the debate.
Romney argued that he thinks bringing down the national debt is “not just an economic issue.”
“I think it’s a moral issue. I think it’s, frankly, not moral for my generation to keep spending massively more than we take in, knowing those burdens are going to passed on to the next generation, and they’re going to be paying the interest and the principal all their lives,” he said. “And the amount of debt we’re adding, at a trillion a year, is simply not moral.”
Obama mischaracterized Romney’s plan and claimed it would add to the deficit, saying “Governor Romney’s central economic plan calls for a $5 trillion tax cut on top of the extension of the Bush tax cuts — that’s another trillion dollars — and $2 trillion in additional military spending that the military hasn’t asked for.”
Romney dismissed the President’s idea that, if elected, the Republican budget would include a $5 trillion tax cut, saying he refuses to cut taxes if it will increase the national debt.
“Virtually everything he just said about my tax plan is inaccurate,” Romney said. “So if the tax plan he described were a tax plan I was asked to support, I’d say, absolutely not.”
Obama countered by saying Romney had been touting his tax break for 18 months, yet now, just weeks before the election, views that campaign point as a “never mind” point.
Ironically, Obama is the candidate who would increase taxes on the middle class through Obamacare, which is now being called Obamatax, not Romney, but that was not pointed out by Romney during the back and forth.
This post has been updated to include additional information and quotes.
Francesca Chambers contributed to this report.