National debt up $6 trillion since Obama took office

National Debt Clock hangs above the Internal Revenue Service entrance in New York City on February 20, 2013. Anthony Behar / Sipa USA

Less than two months into President Obama's second term, new numbers show the national debt increased by more than $6 trillion since he took office.

It's the largest increase to date under any U.S. president. During the eight-year presidency of George W. Bush, the debt soared by $4.9 trillion.

Without fanfare, the Bureau of Public Debt at the Treasury Department quietly posted its daily debt report showing the total public debt of the U.S. government topped $16.687 trillion. (To be exact: $16,687,289,180,215.37)

On January 20, 2009, the day Mr. Obama took office, the debt stood at $10.626 trillion. The latest posting reflects an increase of over $6 trillion.

The dubious fiscal milestone came on same day as Mr. Obama and congressional leaders met to discuss the $85 billion in automatic indiscriminate spending cuts that start to take effect today.

The president wanted a package of targeted spending cuts and elimination of tax breaks to avert the mandatory reductions in spending that he says will adversely effect people nationwide. No deal was reached.

"I told them these cuts will hurt our economy. They will cost us jobs," the president said of his meeting.

But the struggle to come up with just $85 billion in spending reductions or tax hikes is a big part of the reason why the national debt continues to expand.

Contributing to the National Debt, the federal deficit has topped $1 trillion four years running. Mr. Obama has routinely blamed his predecessor for policies that has sent the debt soaring on his watch.

"A debt that has grown over the last decade, primarily as a result of two wars, two massive tax cuts, and an unprecedented financial crisis, will have to be paid down," he said in a speech last year.

The White House says Mr. Obama is working with Congress to complete work on a $4 trillion reduction in deficits.

Nevertheless, the Office of Management and Budget projects the national debt will continue to increase by over $800 billion this year and by amounts in the range of $500 billion to $800 billion in the out years - all of which will add to the national debt.

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    Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent.

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