Iowa Senator Tom Harkin was at his worst Wednesday morning in a press conference.
Sure, there was the usual immature Democratic Party name-calling -- calling Republicans "dead-beat debtors" and characterizing Republicans who oppose raising the debt ceiling as a "cult fringe," even though polls seem to be showing that 60% of Americans are in that "fringe." But beyond that, Harkin uttered a demonstrably untrue statement, something so obviously untrue that if a Republican or conservative had said something similar against Democrats, the establishment press would have dwelt on it for days.
In apportioning responsibilities for annual federal budget deficits and the staggering increases in the national debt, Harkin made the following claim:
"Democrats are willing to do whatever is necessary to raise the debt ceiling, not for future borrowing but to pay the debts that we racked up in the past. Which, mostly was racked up by a Republican House, a Republican Senate and a Republican President in the last 8 years. Yet, they're not willing to pay the bills," Harkin said.
Well, Tom, not exactly.
Giving Harkin the greatest possible (and totally undeserved) benefit of the doubt, let's look at where the national debt stood at each fiscal year-end beginning with September 30, 2000:
Let's take it in steps, assuming that each annual session of Congress and the President is fully responsible for the debt buildup occurring during the subsequent October through September fiscal year:
Most of the increases in the national debt occurred during all other situations.
Republicans did not "mostly" run up the national debt. Tom Harkin's statement was false. Assigning responsibility on a strict calendar year to calendar year basis would make Harkin's statement proportionally even more untrue.
A search on Harkin's name at the Associated Press's main national web site returns nothing containing Harkin's statement above. A search on Harkin's full name at the New York Times comes up empty. I am so not surprised.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.