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Rick Santorum Omits Key Details On Deficit: Fact Check

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WASHINGTON — In announcing his Republican presidential bid, former Sen. Rick Santorum blamed President Barack Obama for a federal deficit that has many contributors, and he omitted important details about Obama's comments on America's past.

A look at some of Santorum's statements made Monday and how they compare with the facts:

SANTORUM: "Now for every dollar we spend thanks to this president, 40 cents is borrowed. Forty cents is going to be put on every man, woman and child to pay the interest on for the rest of their lives. ... Who are you, Mr. President, to say that you and your administration should take 40 cents out of every dollar and borrow it from future generations to prop you up?

THE FACTS: The government does borrow about 40 cents for every dollar it spends in the current budget. But Obama is not entirely to blame for deficits that have grown steadily in recent years. Obama's policies, including the 2009 stimulus bill, have contributed. But so have the economic recession, two major tax cuts under President George W. Bush, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and other decisions made before Obama took office and by Congresses partly controlled by Republicans.

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SANTORUM: Under the 2010 health care overhaul, "it's the government for the first time that's going to have its clutches to create dependency on every single American. ... Every single American now will be hooked to the government with an IV. And they will come to you every time they want to do more and say, `Well, you want that IV, you want that health care? Then you've got to give us more power.'"

THE FACTS: The 2010 law preserves employer-based private insurance for most people, so they would not be wholly or perhaps even partly dependent on the government for health care. Obama quickly gave up on a government-run single-payer universal health insurance system that all Americans would count on. Even so, due to Medicare, Medicaid and more, government was an enormous player in health care long before last year's changes. Governments at all levels were on track to pay most of the nation's health care costs even absent Obama's overhaul. The law will require nearly all families and individuals to carry health insurance or pay a penalty.

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SANTORUM: Obama recently discussed "Medicare, Medicaid and unemployment insurance. He said, `The country is a better country with those programs. I will go one step further,' he said. `America was not a great country until those programs.' America was a great country before 1965."

THE FACTS: Santorum misquoted Obama's April 13 speech, when the president said: "We contribute to programs like Medicare and Social Security, which guarantee us health care and a measure of basic income after a lifetime of hard work; unemployment insurance, which protects us against unexpected job loss, and Medicaid, which provides care for millions of seniors in nursing homes, poor children and those with disabilities. We are a better country because of these commitments. I'll go further – we would not be a great country without those commitments."

Santorum neglected to note that Obama included Social Security, a popular program created in 1935. And Obama did not say America "was not a great country" before 1965, the year that ushered in Medicare and Medicaid. He implied the nation would not be great now had it failed to implement the safety-net programs when it did.

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SANTORUM: Obama "has devalued our currency by pumping Federal Reserve currency, pumping money, inflating our commodities, our food prices, our oil prices, which is a horrible penalty on working Americans."

THE FACTS: Presidents appoint the Federal Reserve's board members. But the members serve fixed terms, and their decisions are not subject to ratification by the president or anyone else. The Fed is subject to congressional oversight. As for the cost of living, core inflation remained low as the Consumer Price Index rose 0.4 percent in April and at a 6.2 percent annualized rate over the past three months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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SANTORUM: Under Obama, the nation suffers a "discouragingly high rate of unemployment. Not 9.1 percent, but 14 or 15 percent of people who really want to get work and cannot find it."

THE FACTS: Santorum is including estimates of part-time workers who want full-time work and "discouraged" workers who want jobs but have quit looking. Economists recognize these types of workers. But they are not included in the Labor Department's monthly unemployment rate, a widely cited statistic that stands at 9.1 percent.

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Associated Press writer Calvin Woodward contributed to this report.

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