Carter, Obama: Republican TV

A new minute-long Republican Party ad opens with former President Jimmy Carter in the Oval Office initiating “an upleasant talk” with the American people:

Gas prices doubling, trade deficit growing, too many unemployed, federal spending taking a growing portion of what Americans produce.

“The federal deficit is simply too high now,” Carter says in the footage, calling it “a turning point in our history.”

The sober reading of the economy from Carter is interspersed with images of President Barack Obama, the Democrat with whom Republican Mitt Romney wants Americans to associate most.

“Are you better off?” the ad asks, concluding: “Obama isn’t working.”

The messages on screen in the Republican National Committee ad also claim that Obama has added more debt than any president in history.

Yet, taken as a percentage in growth of the national debt, his predecessor, President George W. Bush, probably holds that record. When Bush was sworn in as president in 2001, the accrued national debt stood at $5.7 trillion. When Bush left the White House, the debt had grown to $10.6 trillion, an 86 percent increase, according to the U.S. Treasury Department. The debt now is approaching $16 trillion, a gain of under 50 percent since Bush.

The Republicans — who showcased convention-hall debt clocks last week featuring the rising toll since the start of their convention alone — also are having some fun with the fact that the debt is expected to surpass $16 trillion today.

“I’m just sorry that our latest surrogate, President Carter, couldn’t make it here himself,” former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, a Romney surrogate, joked at a press conference in Charlotte to unveil the party ad.

Mark Niquette contributed to this report. 

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