By Erik Wasson - 11/16/11 08:54 PM EST
The national debt surpassed $15 trillion for the first time on Wednesday, according to the Treasury Department, and Republicans are seizing on the occasion to pin the blame on President Obama.
“America has crossed an unthinkable threshold: our national debt now exceeds $15 trillion dollars. That’s more than $48,000 per citizen," Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus said. “In 2009, President Obama promised to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. Instead, he further accelerated its growth, producing three years of record deficits."
"Our skyrocketing debt burden is not just bad luck; it is the predictable outcome of President Obama’s policies," Sen. Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonElection-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables Grassley accuses Reid of 'pure unfiltered partisanship' California to allow experimental drug treatments for the terminally ill MORE (R-Wis.) said.
While Republicans point out that Obama added $800 billion to the debt through his 2009 stimulus package, Democrats say the best way to solve the budget problem is to let the Bush-era tax rates expire. They also note that Obama inherited a recession when he came into office and that the recession lowered incoming tax revenue.