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Monday, August 27, 2012

As Convention Opens, Debt Clock Ticks


As Republicans gather in Tampa, Fla., for their convention, party leaders want to drive home a message to voters: The federal debt is hurtling toward $16 trillion, and it is President Obama's fault.

That's the gist of what the party chairman, Reince Priebus, said as he banged a gavel to open the convention Monday afternoon. The banging activated a “debt clock” in the convention hall that tallies the amount the debt accumulating during the four-day event. A second ticker that started running earlier displays the total national debt.

Mr. Priebus said the clocks served to draw attention to the “unprecedented fiscal recklessness of the Obama administration.” A day earlier, he said the clocks highlighted what is at stake in November.

“This clock reminds every delegate and every American of why we are here in Tampa â€" because American can and must do better,” he said. “Every American's share of the nat ional debt has increased by approximately $16,000 during the current administration.”

He said Mitt Romney and Paul D. Ryan would “turn this fiscal mess around, get people back to work and set our country on a strong foundation for generations to come.”

The clock will hang over Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey as he delivers the keynote speech on Tuesday and Mitt Romney when he accepts the presidential nomination at the convention's close on Thursday.

For Republicans, the debt clocks represent efforts draw attention back to the economy after a week in which social issues dominated the political back-and-forth. The move plays to concerns that the federal debt is rising at an unsustainable pace, threatening the economic recovery and national security.

But by drawing attention to the nation's ballooning debt, Republicans are of course not mentioning their own role in its growth during the Bush administration.