Ignoring Clinton, Bush budget records, Matthews declared "I don't think the Democrats are any better" than Republicans at being fiscally responsibleApril 13, 2006 12:07 PM EDT ››› JOE BROWN
On the April 11 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews baselessly asserted that "I don't think the Democrats are any better" than Republicans when it comes to "fiscal responsibility." In fact, a comparison of the records of the two most recent presidents -- Bill Clinton (D) and George W. Bush (R) -- shows that budget deficits shrank under Clinton, eventually resulting in large budget surpluses, while deficits have ballooned to record levels under Bush.
Reporting from the campus of the University of Southern California (USC), Matthews made his comments during a discussion with the respective chairmen of USC's College Democrats and College Republicans. When College Republicans chairman Robert Lowy asserted that Republicans stand for "fiscal responsibility," Matthews responded: "What's the current deficit?" But he then added: "I don't think the Democrats are any better at it, by the way."
In fact, Clinton's presidency was marked by a gradual reduction in budget deficits leading to four years of large surpluses, while Bush's presidency has seen record budget deficits. Based on data from the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Media Matters for America has created the following chart, comparing the surpluses and deficits from Clinton's budgets (fiscal years 1994 through 2001) to those from Bush's budgets (2002-2007*):
*Budget numbers for 2006 and 2007 are White House projections.
As Media Matters previously noted, Bush's budget deficits (actual and projected) for 2003 through 2007 are the largest in history, with the 2006 deficit projected to reach a record $423 billion.
From the April 11 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:
MATTHEWS: Robert Lowy, Republicans, what do you guys stand for?
LOWY: What do we stand for? Well number one, certainly fiscal responsibility, and conservative --
MATTHEWS: What's the current deficit?
LOWY: You had to do it? You had to do it, didn't you? Thanks.
MATTHEWS: I don't think the Democrats are any better at it, by the way, but go ahead.
LOWY: And certainly the second would have to be national security. I think 9-11 certainly was a wake-up call to everyone.