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Rhetorical blood is dripping from The Washington Post's op-ed page after a brawl between David Axelrod and Karl Rove, arguably the top two political advisers in the country. What was at stake? The honor of each combatant's administration.

It all started when the Post invited Rove to join a panel discussing "Democratic Strategies for 2010." Rather than offer advice (as other panelists did) Rove unloaded a litany of complaints. He skewered Democrats for raising discretionary spending, prioritizing cap-and-trade and squandering "every opportunity for... bipartisanship." Rove's bellyaching awakened President Obama's top political adviser, David Axelrod, who called him out Friday morning in a column titled "What Karl Rove got wrong on the U.S. deficit."

After giving Rove credit for his "impressive campaign victories" during his Bush years, Axelrod challenged Rove's argument that congressional Democrats "will run up more debt by October than Bush did in eight years." Clearing his throat, Axelrod says, "let's review a little history."

The day the Bush administration took over from President Bill Clinton in 2001, America enjoyed a $236 billion budget surplus -- with a projected 10-year surplus of $5.6 trillion. When the Bush administration left office, it handed President Obama a $1.3 trillion deficit -- and projected shortfalls of $8 trillion for the next decade. During eight years in office, the Bush administration passed two major tax cuts skewed to the wealthiest Americans, enacted a costly Medicare prescription-drug benefit and waged two wars, without paying for any of it.

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