Frank Luntz, in his leaked playbook for the GOP:
Without the context of 9-11, you will be blamed for the deficit.
The deficit is a touchy subject for both Republicans and Democrats -
your supporters are inherently turned off to the idea of fiscal
irresponsibility, and Democrats see nothing but hypocrisy. The trick
then is to contextualize the deficit inside of 9-11 and the war in
Iraq, which Republicans sometimes do, but not early enough in the
Ken Mehlman, on last Sunday's Meet the Press:
RUSSERT: But, Mr. Mehlman, it's gone from $218 billion surplus when
George Bush took office to a $427 billion deficit. How can you call
that Republican conservative economic policy?
MEHLMAN: Well, what I would say, Tim, is what we've suffered,
unfortunately, was an attack on this country. We've suffered a war,
and one thing we know: Whenever our nation's faced war, whether it was
in the 1980s when we were winning the Cold War or in the 1940s during
World War II, the responsible thing to do has been to borrow money to
win the war. And that's what we did in running the deficit in the
'80s, in the 1940s, and that's what we did over the last four years.