It's not just Giuliani

RNC chairman blames the GOP's fiscal irresponsibility on 9/11.

Published November 1, 2007 3:31PM (EDT)

On CNN Wednesday, Wolf Blitzer asked Republican National Committee chairman Mike Duncan to explain how it is that that the national debt shot up dramatically with a Republican in the White House and Republicans in control of Congress.

"I'll put some numbers up," Blitzer said. "The national debt when the president took office was $5.8 trillion, but now it's gone up. It's almost doubled, at least to $9 trillion. And this is money that our children and grandchildren are going to be owing to the Chinese, the Saudis, all the wealthy states out there who are taking these loans from the United States. What happened to the fiscal conservatives that were so important to the Republican base?"

Duncan's response: "Wolf, I could get into a long explanation about the percentages and why we actually are bringing down the debt and over the next five years ... but the bottom line is, what other president has faced a calamity like 9/11?"

We could stop there and call it an item. But Duncan continued, and so will we: "We had the economy go down during that period of time," Duncan told Blitzer. "[Bush] brought us back with a great tax program, and we're making progress. I could go into all these percentages, but it's giving hope to the American people."

Hope? A new USA Today/Gallup poll out today has 72 percent of Americans saying they're dissatisfied with how things are going in the country -- the latest gloomy number in what USA Today calls "the longest national funk in 15 years."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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