"That wasn't me," President Barack Obama said on his 100th day in office, disclaiming responsibility for the huge budget deficit waiting for him on Day One.
It actually was him - and the other Democrats controlling Congress the previous two years - who shaped a budget so out of balance.
And as a presidential candidate and president-elect, he backed the twilight Bush-era stimulus plan that made the deficit deeper, all before he took over and promoted spending plans that have made it much deeper still.
Obama met citizens at an Arnold, Mo., high school Wednesday in advance of his prime-time news conference. Both forums were a platform to review his progress at the 100-day mark and look ahead.
His assertion that his proposed budget "will cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term" is an eyeball-roller among many economists, given the uncharted terrain of trillion-dollar deficits and economic calamity that the government is negotiating.
He promised vast savings from increased spending on preventive health care in the face of doubts that such an effort, however laudable it might be for public welfare, can pay for itself, let alone yield huge savings.