THE FACTS: Much of the increase in the debt is due to lower tax revenues from depressed corporate and individual incomes and high joblessness in the worst recession since the Great Depression. The recession officially began in December 2007, when George W. Bush was president and the national debt stood at just over $9 trillion. Financial bailouts, stimulus programs and auto rescue spending that started under Bush and continued under Obama contributed to the run-up of the debt.
But so did the Bush-era tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003. With bipartisan support, Congress has extended the tax cuts until the end of this year, and Romney's proposals for big cuts of his own would risk another squeeze on revenue.
To be sure, Obama as a presidential candidate in 2008 was just as eager as Romney is now to pin blame for mounting debt on a president from the other party.
Ignoring economic circumstances and the role of both parties in Congress, Obama accused President George W. Bush in that campaign of driving up debt by $4 trillion "by his lonesome" and taking out "a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children."