Obama Says He Can't Remember What The National Debt Was When He Took Office

obama letterman

Courtesy of CBS

Barack Obama touched on the issue of the federal deficit last night, telling late night talk show host David Letterman that the U.S. doesn’t have to worry about the debt “in the short term.” Responding to Letterman’s concern about the growing deficit, Obama first deflected blame on to his predecessor, George W. Bush. 

“We had a surplus when Bill Clinton was president,” Obama said. “When I walked into office, we had a trillion dollar deficit, debt had mounted, and then we had to take a bunch of emergency measures: Saving the auto industry, making sure that the financial system got back on track.” 

“So now what we’ve got to do is pare down that deficit, get that debt under control,” he went on. “The only way we’ve ever been able to do that effectively is in a balanced way.”

Letterman then followed up by asking how much the national debt was when Obama took office. 

“I don’t remember what the number was precisely,” Obama said, adding later, “We don’t have to worry about it short term. But it is a problem long-term and even medium-term.” 

According to the Treasury Department website, the national debt was $10.6 trillion on the day Barack Obama took office. Today, the national debt is $16 trillion. 

You can watch the whole interview here > 

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