Two months ago I compared federal debt by Presidential administration. Obama’s administration leads the pack. This would lead one to assume that President Obama is a big spender. He’s not. In a WSJ MarketWatch article (I don’t think you need a subscription to see this article), Rex Nutting examined the historical data of federal spending from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The data shows that the big spenders were Reagan and G.W. Bush. What has plagued the Obama administration is a lack of revenue, particularly income tax revenue, because of the recession.
In a balanced approach, Nutting gives proper due to the role Republicans in Congress have played, checking Congressional spending approvals.
Regardless of the data, we can expect that Republican pundits and political ads will continue to paint the Obama administration as the big daddy of “tax and spend” Democratic Presidents. To partisans of either party, when facts don’t conform to their ideology or preconceived notions, there must be something wrong with the facts. Both parties rely on the fact that many voters vote with their guts, not their heads.