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White House: Ok, yes, the sequester was our idea

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins,Politics Digest

The White House, which has been serially misrepresenting the origin of the sequester, was finally forced to admit that the spending cut mechanism was in fact its own idea, though not without a fair amount of tooth-pulling by NBC’s David Gregory:

From the transcript of Gregory’s Meet The Press interview today with White House economic adviser Gene Sperling (All emphasis added):

DAVID GREGORY:

Back in October, the president staked out some very clear ground in the presidential debate against Mitt Romney. Here is what he said.

(Videotape)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: First of all, the sequester is not something that I proposed. It’s something that Congress has proposed. It will not happen. The budget that we’re talking about is not reducing our military spending. It’s maintaining it.

(End videotape)

DAVID GREGORY:

As the White House has acknowledged, that’s not accurate. The president did propose this. He didn’t want it to become law, and Republicans supported it, but it was the White House’s idea. He said there unequivocally, “It will not happen.” And yet it’s happened.

GENE SPERLING:

David–

DAVID GREGORY:

Is there some responsibility he bears for that?

GENE SPERLING:

David, Jonathan Chase in New York Magazine, you know, gave the following analogy: A murderer comes up to you and says, “Give me your wallet.” You say, “I don’t have my wallet, but here’s my watch.” Well, technically giving your watch was your idea, but it doesn’t really tell the whole story.

We know, everyone knows, that the president wanted an enforcement mechanism that included revenues on the most well-off. The speaker insisted, the Republicans insisted that if this be an enforcement mechanism, that it be on all spending cuts. Because we were forced to do that, it is true we suggested going back to the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings mechanism.

DAVID GREGORY:

That’s not what he said–

GENE SPERLING:

On the whole–

DAVID GREGORY:

–in that debate.

GENE SPERLING:

Well, I think that–

DAVID GREGORY:

He said, “I didn’t propose it.”

GENE SPERLING:

But I think it’s most accurate that they did propose an all-spending cut mechanism that would have this type of harmful impact on defense, and on education and research. And the idea– and this is the critical part. The idea was not that these would go into effect, but that people of good faith would come back and compromise. And we know that that is what’s important.

You know, Republicans are getting a win by letting the sequester go into effect. They want more funding for border security. They say they want more funding for defense. The speaker says he wants more on long-term entitlement reform. This gets nothing.

(OVERTALK)

GENE SPERLING:

It hits long-term entitlement–

DAVID GREGORY:

But is the president right or wrong, in that clip that I just showed you?

GENE SPERLING:

I think the president was overall right in that the idea of an across-the-board, all-spending cut was the idea of Republicans. But, yes, we put forward the design of how to do that. But, David–

DAVID GREGORY:

Which was the sequester.

 

 

 

 

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Author:

Sean Higgins

Senior Writer
The Washington Examiner