Gingrich flubs history in GOP debate
WASHINGTON—Newt Gingrich called rival Mitt Romney a "terrible historian" but flubbed his own history in Congress on Monday night when he claimed the nation ran four consecutive budget surpluses during his time as House speaker. Romney attacked Gingrich's financial links to Freddie Mac while ignoring his own.
GINGRICH: "When I was speaker, we had four consecutive balanced budgets."
THE FACTS: Actually, two.
The four straight years of budget surpluses were 1998 through 2001. Gingrich left Congress in 1999, so he only had a hand in surpluses for his last two years. The budget ran deficits for his first two years as speaker.
The highest surplus of that four-year string came in budget year 2000, after Gingrich was out of office.
Overall, the national debt went up during the four years Gingrich was speaker. In January 1995, when he assumed the leadership position, the gross national debt was $4.8 trillion. When he left four years later, it was $5.6 trillion, an increase of $800 billion....
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