Tuesday afternoon, the US national debt ticked over the $16 trillion mark, a number which comes on the same day as the Democrats open their 2012 national convention. Republicans had unveiled a debt clock at the RNC last week with the possibility the $16 trillion figure could be hit around the time of Romney’s acceptance speech. Obviously their plans didn’t pan out since the number was not hit until today.

Report from Politico:

Bad timing for Democrats: The gross national debt is set to hit $16 trillion Tuesday as the party’s convention gets under way, and Republicans are pouncing.

“This is a grim landmark for the United States,” Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, said in a statement. “That’s more government debt per person than Portugal, Italy, Spain or Greece. Yet the president seems strangely unconcerned.”

In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Obama senior campaign adviser David Axelrod said the president’s economic plan would lower deficits by $4 trillion over a decade. But moving too aggressively, he added, could backfire.

“What’s necessary is to stabilize the debt and then work from there,” he said. “You can’t balance the budget in the short term, because to do that would be to ratchet down the economy.”

Obviously not all of that $16 trillion came from President Obama or Democrats in general, both parties have done their fair share of debt spending driving up the ticker. However, the number serves as a reminder of the overarching issue in 2012 which is the economy and sustained government growth.

Michelle Obama will be the headline speaker this evening at the DNC. You can catch it all beginning at 10pm eastern time on the broadcast networks and cable news or watch live online C-SPAN.