Monday, February 25, 2013

Woodward: Obama Not Telling Truth on Sequester

Paul Scicchitano
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Despite President Obama’s insistence that Republicans are to blame for the coming sequester, The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward maintains that the commander-in-chief need look no further than his own White House if he wants to blame someone.

“The president and (Treasury Secretary Jack) Lew had this wrong,” Woodward penned on Friday. “My extensive reporting for my book 'The Price of Politics' shows that the automatic spending cuts were initiated by the White House and were the brainchild of Lew and White House congressional relations chief Rob Nabors — probably the foremost experts on budget issues in the senior ranks of the federal government.”

Woodward, who is an associate editor at the Post, said the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts that are set to begin on Friday are surrounded by “misunderstanding, misstatements and all the classic contortions of partisan message management.” The cuts amount to a total of $1.2 trillion over 10 years.

“Obama personally approved of the plan for Lew and Nabors to propose the sequester to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid,” asserted Woodward. “They did so at 2:30 p.m. July 27, 2011, according to interviews with two senior White House aides who were directly involved.”

Woodward also cited comments attributed to Nabors.

“Nabors has told others that they checked with the president before going to see Reid,” Woodward explained. “A majority of Republicans did vote for the Budget Control Act that summer, which included the sequester. Key Republican staffers said they didn’t even initially know what a sequester was — because the concept stemmed from the budget wars of the 1980s, when they were not in government.”

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney countered in a tweet that the goal was always to replace the cuts with a so-called grand bargain, reported Politico on Saturday.

"Super Committee's mandate was not to replace sequester w/spending cuts alone," Carney tweeted. "To suggest otherwise is willfully wrong."

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