POLITIFACT: Senator's Criticism of Obama 'Barely True'

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ATLANTA — A high-ranking Republican state senator is going after President Barack Obama, criticizing him for out-of-control spending, but his claims may not be completely true.

State Sen. Chip Rogers says Obama has accumulated more debt than the United States did during its first 200 years of existence, but Politifact Georgia interviewed liberal and conservative economists and found the claims are not valid.

Rogers, who represents southern Cherokee and northwest Cobb counties, made the allegations in a recently mailed flier.

Channel 2's Lori Geary spent time with the Politifact Georgia team as they reviewed extensive research on the statement.

"One thing that is striking is how the liberal expert and the conservative expert are in agreement that the comparisons are not valid," said Atlanta Journal-Constitution Sunday editor Charles Gay.

According to the material distributed by Rogers, the gross national debt in 1989 was $2.9 trillion. Rogers then claims the Obama administration increased the debt to $3 trillion.

"Chip is basically comparing apples to oranges here. He's comparing 1989 numbers to 2010 numbers without any adjustment for inflation in those numbers," said Politifact Georgia editor Jim Tharpe.

The Politifact panel gave Roger's statement a "barely true" rating on its truth-o-meter.

Rogers released a statement to Geary saying, "The information I provided was based on the exact amount of federal debt as provided by the United States treasury. The President assumes responsibility for federal spending the moment he takes the oath of office. He has the power to reduce spending immediately if he so chooses. President Obama instead decided to accelerate spending and has now spent $3 trillion more than the government has collected since he took office. This $3 trillion in new federal debt is greater than all the debt created by the United States government during our first 200 years in existence."

For more on the Politifact story check Wednesday's edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.