From the White House's President Meets with Economic Team
, Q&A session: (emphasis added)
Q: ... if a Democrat were President ... and were running a $455 billion deficit, as are you, all other things being equal, wouldn't you be upset about it?
THE PRESIDENT: Let me tell you something, the deficit was caused by a recession which we inherited and did something about. The deficit was caused because we spent more money on fighting a war, and the American people expect a President to do what is necessary to win a war. So I look forward to taking this debate on. I really do. We did the right thing when it came to tax relief. We inherited a tough situation.
But most importantly, the American know that I'm not afraid to lead and to make a tough decision. And I made a tough decision, a series of tough decisions. One, to make America more secure, a tough decision to make the world more peaceful, and I made tough decisions when it comes to making sure our economy grows.