In 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama dismissed President George W. Bush as “unpatriotic” for boosting the national debt by roughly $4 trillion.
These days, President Obama slams Republicans as unpatriotic because they oppose his even higher pace of deficit spending.
On Wednesday the federal debt reached $15 trillion, or $48,000 for every American man, woman and child.
In July 2008 the national debt was $9 trillion when Obama spoke to a campaign-trail crowd in Fargo, N.D.
“The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children,” Obama complained, “driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents, [and] number 43 added $4 trillion dollars by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have now to pay back.”
“That’s irresponsible, that’s unpatriotic,” he declared.
George W. Bush was the forty-third U.S. president.
Campaigning for re-election in 2012, however, Obama has decidedly changed his rhetoric.
He downplays the scale of his presidency’s spending binge — America ran $1.3 trillion deficits in 2009 and 2010 — and claims Republicans are unpatriotic for not raising taxes to support his new deficit spending. (RELATED: White House sets up virtual Chamber of Commerce)
On October 4, for example, Obama told supporters at a St. Louis fundraising event that Congress should act patriotic by supporting his one-year, $446 billion stimulus plan, all of which is to be funded by deficit spending and eventually paid off through tax increases.
“We need to pass this [stimulus] bill … if the American people see Washington putting their needs first, putting country before party … that’s going to restore a sense of hope,” he said.
Obama introduced his “party before country” theme when his plan for a deficit-reducing “Grand Bargain” broke down in August, following his demand for an $1.2 trillion in new taxes.
On August 20, he said his “common-sense ideas” were being held back by “the refusal by some in Congress to put country ahead of party. That’s the problem right now.”
During daily press briefings, White House spokesmen also routinely claim Republican legislators “put party before country.”
But the president avoids making that charge when political needs require a different tone.
In October, during a speech at the dedication of the new monument to Martin Luther King, Jr., Obama denounced politicians who claim their opponents are unpatriotic.
“If [King] were alive today … he would want us to know we can argue fiercely about the proper size and role of government without questioning each other’s love for this country,” Obama declared.
Two hours later, deputy White House spokesman Josh Earnest demanded that legislators pass the stimulus bill and “put country before party.”