President Obama went on “The Late Show with David Letterman” Tuesday night to joke about, among other things, his weight, seeing Letterman naked — and the national debt.
Significantly, when asked by Letterman whether the debt is about “$10 trillion,” Obama avoided the horrifying answer of about $16 trillion by saying he doesn’t remember “precisely.”
“Here’s what I found troubling [at the GOP convention]…They had the clock, the debt countdown clock and, I mean, this thing is going like crazy and it’s several trillion dollars. Now, what is that?” Letterman asked, after admitting he is ignorant of many political matters.
After blaming Bush for starting two wars “on a credit card” and saying that we had to spend money to prop up fledgling industries during the recession, Letterman asked of the debt: “Now, do you remember what that number was? Was it $10 trillion?”
The Washington Post notes that the debt is growing so fast there is no such thing as a precise recollection, but Obama certainly could have said, “closer to $16 trillion.”
Instead, the president seemingly let the group continue to think our national debt is roughly $6 trillion less than it is, saying simply: “I don’t remember what the number was, precisely.”
Watch Obama’s appearance on Letterman, below:
But that’s not the only part of the president’s appearance on Letterman that’s drawing criticism.
The New York Post’s Abby W. Schachter wrote a scathing analysis of the speech, saying the president lied about our ability to manage the debt, the state of the auto industry, and whether raising taxes is actually an effective way to reduce the deficit.
Noting that the proposed tax increases will provide a small fraction of what we intend to spend, Schacter concluded:
It was fanciful to expect that Obama’s appearance on a comedy program would result in a serious policy discussion, but the shocking thing is the president’s ability to lie and dodge whether he’s talking to Letterman or the American people.
Many consider the appearance in itself to be questionable timing, since the Middle East is on fire, the economy is in crisis, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is urgently requesting a meeting.