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On May 22, 2012, Rex Nutting, the international commentary editor for the financial website MarketWatch, published a column titled, "Obama spending binge never happened." Nutting’s column explored data on federal spending patterns during recent presidencies, concluding that -- contrary to the tax-and-spend stereotype of Democrats -- President Barack Obama has actually presided over the smallest increases in federal spending of any recent president.
The column went viral. Within hours, people who liked the column were posting a graphic on Facebook -- which appears to have originated with the liberal blog Groobiecat Call -- that paired a line from Nutting’s column with a quote from Mitt Romney’s campaign website. And by day’s end, roughly a dozen readers had asked us to check the claim.
The Facebook post said that Romney is wrong to claim that spending under Obama has "accelerated at a pace without precedent in recent history," because it's actually risen "slower than at any time in nearly 60 years."
We found that Obama has indeed presided over the slowest growth in spending of any president using raw dollars, and the growth on his watch was the second-slowest if you adjust for inflation. The math simultaneously backs up Nutting’s calculations and demolishes Romney’s contention. The only significant shortcoming of the graphic was that it failed to note that some of the restraint in spending was fueled by demands from congressional Republicans. On balance, we rated the claim Mostly True.
See original Truth-O-Meter item.