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Bush Just Escapes Being $5-Trillion Man

(White House/Eric Draper)
Twenty-four days saved George W. Bush from running up five trillion dollars of government debt.

The latest posting on the Department of the Treasury website shows the National Debt just hit $10.759-trillion dollars. And that $5-trillion and change more than it was on the day Pres. Bush took office on Jan. 20, 2001.

Even so, Mr. Bush ran up the biggest increase in the National Debt of any American president. The Debt was $5.727-trillion on his first day in the White House. And on the day he left, it was $10.626-trillion. That means the Debt increased by $4.899-trillion on his watch. Some would round it off to $5-trillion – but that wouldn't be fair. He was saved from five trillion dollar infamy by $101-billion.

But watch for the National Debt to start shooting up again once the $879-brillion economic stimulus bill is signed into law next week.

So far, the National Debt has increased $133-billion since the day Barack Obama became President. That averages out to $5.3-billion a day. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the federal deficit this year will hit an all-time high of $1.2-trillion – and that doesn't include the stimulus bill.

At the moment, the statutory ceiling on the National Debt is $11.3-trillion. It will clearly have to be raised soon.

It's certain the one sure-fire investment this year is red ink.

Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here.