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Under Obama, U.S. Govt. Spends At Lowest Rate In Decades, Says Journalist

Democrats like Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager of President Obama's re-election effort, and Donna Brazile, the Democratic political strategist, were delighted to point on Tuesday to an analysis of federal spending under President Obama compared with his predecessors.

Max Nutting, a journalist who writes for the MarketWatch website affiliated with The Wall Street Journal looked at the data and found that rhetoric and reality don't quite match up.

Nutting found that, contrary to repeated allegations from the president's political foes, including Mitt Romney, that Obama has been on a federal spending tear, he actually hasn't.

Indeed, Nutting, spending under Obama has actually occurred at a slower rate than it did under previous White House occupants.

You actually have to go back decades to find a presidency — Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950s to be precise — in which spending happened at a slower rate.

An excerpt:

"Almost everyone believes that Obama has presided over a massive increase in federal spending, an "inferno" of spending that threatens our jobs, our businesses and our children's future. Even Democrats seem to think it's true.

"But it didn't happen. Although there was a big stimulus bill under Obama, federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end in the 1950s.

"Even hapless Herbert Hoover managed to increase spending more than Obama has."

Hoover happened to be president when Will Rogers, that great American humorist, was at the height of his popularity. It was Rogers who gave us a line that is no less true today then when he uttered it more than 75 years ago:

"It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble. It's what we know that just ain't so."

I've asked the Romney campaign for a response to Nutting's piece and will update this post with same.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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