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Author Topic: Bob Woodward: Obama is lying about the sequester  (Read 8799 times)
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« on: February 22, 2013, 06:23:34 PM »

Obama’s sequester deal-changer
By Bob Woodward, Friday, February 22, 5:59 PM
Bob Woodward (woodwardb@washpost.com) is an associate editor of The Post. His latest book is “The Price of Politics.” Evelyn M. Duffy contributed to this column.

Misunderstanding, misstatements and all the classic contortions of partisan message management surround the sequester, the term for the $85 billion in ugly and largely irrational federal spending cuts set by law to begin Friday.

What is the non-budget wonk to make of this? Who is responsible? What really happened?

The finger-pointing began during the third presidential debate last fall, on Oct. 22, when President Obama blamed Congress. “The sequester is not something that I’ve proposed,” Obama said. “It is something that Congress has proposed.”

The White House chief of staff at the time, Jack Lew, who had been budget director during the negotiations that set up the sequester in 2011, backed up the president two days later.

“There was an insistence on the part of Republicans in Congress for there to be some automatic trigger,” Lew said while campaigning in Florida. It “was very much rooted in the Republican congressional insistence that there be an automatic measure.”

The president and Lew had this wrong. 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.

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

Nabors has told others that they checked with the president before going to see Reid. A mandatory sequester was the only action-forcing mechanism they could devise. Nabors has said, “We didn’t actually think it would be that hard to convince them” — Reid and the Republicans — to adopt the sequester. “It really was the only thing we had. There was not a lot of other options left on the table.”

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.

At the Feb. 13 Senate Finance Committee hearing on Lew’s nomination to become Treasury secretary, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) asked Lew about the account in my book: “Woodward credits you with originating the plan for sequestration. Was he right or wrong?”

“It’s a little more complicated than that,” Lew responded, “and even in his account, it was a little more complicated than that. We were in a negotiation where the failure would have meant the default of the government of the United States.”

“Did you make the suggestion?” Burr asked.

“Well, what I did was said that with all other options closed, we needed to look for an option where we could agree on how to resolve our differences. And we went back to the 1984 plan that Senator [Phil] Gramm and Senator [Warren] Rudman worked on and said that that would be a basis for having a consequence that would be so unacceptable to everyone that we would be able to get action.”

In other words, yes.

But then Burr asked about the president’s statement during the presidential debate, that the Republicans originated it.

Lew, being a good lawyer and a loyal presidential adviser, then shifted to denial mode: “Senator, the demand for an enforcement mechanism was not something that the administration was pushing at that moment.”

That statement was not accurate.

On Tuesday, Obama appeared at the White House with a group of police officers and firefighters to denounce the sequester as a “meat-cleaver approach” that would jeopardize military readiness and investments in education, energy and readiness. He also said it would cost jobs. But, the president said, the substitute would have to include new revenue through tax reform.

At noon that same day, White House press secretary Jay Carney shifted position and accepted sequester paternity.

“The sequester was something that was discussed,” Carney said. Walking back the earlier statements, he added carefully, “and as has been reported, it was an idea that the White House put forward.”

This was an acknowledgment that the president and Lew had been wrong.

Why does this matter?

First, months of White House dissembling further eroded any semblance of trust between Obama and congressional Republicans. (The Republicans are by no means blameless and have had their own episodes of denial and bald-faced message management.)

Second, Lew testified during his confirmation hearing that the Republicans would not go along with new revenue in the portion of the deficit-reduction plan that became the sequester. Reinforcing Lew’s point, a senior White House official said Friday, “The sequester was an option we were forced to take because the Republicans would not do tax increases.”

In fact, the final deal reached between Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2011 included an agreement that there would be no tax increases in the sequester in exchange for what the president was insisting on: an agreement that the nation’s debt ceiling would be increased for 18 months, so Obama would not have to go through another such negotiation in 2012, when he was running for reelection.

So when the president asks that a substitute for the sequester include not just spending cuts but also new revenue, he is moving the goal posts. His call for a balanced approach is reasonable, and he makes a strong case that those in the top income brackets could and should pay more. But that was not the deal he made.

Read more from PostOpinions: Bob Woodward: Time for our leaders to delegate on the budget Robert J. Samuelson: The lowdown on Lew Jennifer Rubin: Jack Lew’s truth problem Eugene Robinson: The sequester madness


© The Washington Post Company
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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2013, 06:59:05 PM »

Woodward's credibility is in the dumpster.  I'm not saying he's right or wrong on this for sure, just saying he's one of the very last people I would trust to get opinions or information from these days.
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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2013, 07:06:00 PM »

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZMNfP_HCUA" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZMNfP_HCUA</a>
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« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2013, 05:22:24 AM »

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZMNfP_HCUA" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZMNfP_HCUA</a>

seriously are you incapable of respecting anything that resembles a fact?

It is not obama's sequester, saying shit like this and parroting right wing propaganda is the problem with the US. It's a government problem, both sides are equally guilty, both sides have done fuck all to deal with it.
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« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2013, 05:27:14 AM »

Obama lied the economy died.
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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2013, 05:41:01 AM »

Obama lied the economy died.

Obama is cool you are a tool.
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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2013, 09:28:52 AM »

The donkey and the elephant will never be friends and the sequester fraud is fueling the fire.
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« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2013, 10:24:26 AM »

The donkey and the elephant will never be friends and the sequester fraud is fueling the fire.

85 billion dollars of up front "cuts" and both sides are proclaiming that the world will end, we will all starve to death and insane people will fill the streets armed with axes.

All lies.

Too funny, though.
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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2013, 10:37:09 AM »

85 billion dollars of up front "cuts" and both sides are proclaiming that the world will end, we will all starve to death and insane people will fill the streets armed with axes.

All lies.

Too funny, though.


If a 2% cut in proposed rate of growth causes this country to melt down - then we deserve to meltdown.  Let these agencies learn to deal like the rest of us have.   
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« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2013, 05:51:57 PM »

Bob Woodward: Why is Obama still misleading everyone on the sequester?
Hotair ^ | 02/23/2013 | Ed Morrissey
Posted on 02/23/2013 11:40:10 AM PST by SeekAndFind

Success may have a thousand fathers, and failure be an orphan, but don’t doubt the parentage of the sequester. After yet another week of White House denials of paternity and a new layer of hysteria over the nature of the cuts involved, Bob Woodward reminds us again who came up with the plan in the first place. As he reported in his book The Price of Politics more than a year ago from on-the-record interviews with the players involved, the sequester was proposed by then-Chief of Staff Jack Lew and personally approved by President Barack Obama, before Harry Reid presented it to Republicans as a take-it-or-leave-it option to end the summer 2011 budget standoff:

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.

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

Nabors has told others that they checked with the president before going to see Reid. A mandatory sequester was the only action-forcing mechanism they could devise. Nabors has said, “We didn’t actually think it would be that hard to convince them” — Reid and the Republicans — to adopt the sequester. “It really was the only thing we had. There was not a lot of other options left on the table.”

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.

Why lie about this? Woodward explains that shifting blame is a necessary part of moving the goal posts the actual issue at hand in August 2011. By that point, the real problem for Obama was the debt ceiling, and the sequester put off the question of both spending cuts and tax increases. Republicans had agreed at that point to a deal that included a 1:1 ratio of new revenues (through tax reform rather than rate increases) and spending cuts, but then Obama came back and wanted more revenues, which scotched the deal. With the debt ceiling approaching a crisis point, both goals got pushed aside in exchange for a punt and the sequester as a lever to force a decision down the road:

Lew testified during his confirmation hearing that the Republicans would not go along with new revenue in the portion of the deficit-reduction plan that became the sequester. Reinforcing Lew’s point, a senior White House official said Friday, “The sequester was an option we were forced to take because the Republicans would not do tax increases.”

In fact, the final deal reached between Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2011 included an agreement that there would be no tax increases in the sequester in exchange for what the president was insisting on: an agreement that the nation’s debt ceiling would be increased for 18 months, so Obama would not have to go through another such negotiation in 2012, when he was running for reelection.

So when the president asks that a substitute for the sequester include not just spending cuts but also new revenue, he is moving the goal posts. His call for a balanced approach is reasonable, and he makes a strong case that those in the top income brackets could and should pay more. But that was not the deal he made.

Besides, Republicans already compromised on the revenue side in January. Now it’s time to work on the spending cuts, but Obama clearly doesn’t want to cut anything from the budget. The nature of the cuts in the sequester and the disconnect from White House hysteria on them is so sharp as to dispel any doubt on that point. Bill Wilson at Forbes calls the sequester cuts “non-existent”:

According to Obama, the sequester would represent “a huge blow to middle-class families and our economy as a whole.” Obama’s White House has also referred to the sequester as “devastating,” saying its cuts would “imperil our economy, our national security (and) vital programs that middle class families depend on.”

Sounds frightening – but is it true? Of course not. According to The Wall Street Journal ”federal domestic discretionary spending soared by 84 percent with some agencies doubling and tripling their budgets” during Barack Obama’s first two years in office. In fact the sequester would scale back just one of every six dollars in discretionary spending increases since 2008 – hardly a “huge blow.” Also, discretionary spending in 2008 was already tremendously inflated – having increased by more than 60 percent over the previous eight years.

In other words this isn’t even really a cut – “devastating” or otherwise – it’s a modest growth rate reduction following years of unnecessary, embarrassing and unsustainable excesses.

Wilson notes that Obama doesn’t have a monopoly on hypocrisy:

U.S. Speaker John Boehner has repeatedly referenced “the president’s sequester” while decrying its “harmful cuts.”

What hypocrisy. Obama and Boehner both supported the sequester as an excuse for yet another unsustainable run-up of our nation’s credit limit – which exhausted its latest $2.1 trillion increase last December (after less than seventeen months).

“The debt ceiling deal in 2011 was agreed to by Republicans and Democrats, and regardless of who came up with the sequester, they all voted for it,” U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan) said recently. “So, you can’t vote for something and, with a straight face, go blame the other guy for its existence in law.”

As Bob Corker put it last week, the sequester amounts to $1.2 trillion in reductions in the trajectory of spending growth over the next ten years, in which we project to spend $45 trillion. It amounts to a 2.7% decrease in overall spending over the decade, hardly Draconian or savage or whatever hyperventilated appellation one chooses to use. If we can’t agree to cut even that much, there is no hope for a broader budget reform that brings us back to balanced budgets in the future, and there aren’t enough taxes in the country to make up the difference from the other direction without killing the economy and wiping out revenue altogether.

Update: Via Andrew Malcolm, Obama’s still misleading everyone on the sequester:

Hi, everybody. Our top priority as a country right now should be doing everything we can to grow our economy and create good, middle class jobs.

And yet, less than one week from now, Congress is poised to allow a series of arbitrary, automatic budget cuts that will do the exact opposite. They will slow our economy. They will eliminate good jobs. They will leave many families who are already stretched to the limit scrambling to figure out what to do.

But here’s the thing: these cuts don’t have to happen. Congress can turn them off anytime with just a little compromise. They can pass a balanced plan for deficit reduction. They can cut spending in a smart way, and close wasteful tax loopholes for the well-off and well-connected.

Unfortunately, it appears that Republicans in Congress have decided that instead of compromising — instead of asking anything of the wealthiest Americans — they would rather let these cuts fall squarely on the middle class.

You know what might help? Having the Senate — controlled by Obama’s Democrats — pass an alternative. Have they done that yet? When that happens, be sure to let us know, Mr. President.

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« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2013, 05:56:04 PM »

seriously are you incapable of respecting anything that resembles a fact?

It is not obama's sequester, saying shit like this and parroting right wing propaganda is the problem with the US. It's a government problem, both sides are equally guilty, both sides have done fuck all to deal with it.

Parroting right wing propaganda? You mean QUOTING DEMOCRATS (including Obama) with regards to the nature of the sequester?

If "both sides are equally guilty", that includes Obama. Are you incapable of actually holding the guy who signed the sequester into law responsible for his own legislation?

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« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2013, 09:14:14 PM »

Woodward's credibility is in the dumpster.  I'm not saying he's right or wrong on this for sure, just saying he's one of the very last people I would trust to get opinions or information from these days.

Excuse me--Don't tell me-- The hero of leftist drones everywhere has his credibility in a "dumpster" now that he's telling the truth about Obama (for once)?

F off Hugo. Your bloated carcass is going to be left off the coast of Caracas any day now. Give my best to Dennis Castro and Obama. 
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« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2013, 11:38:45 PM »

Excuse me--Don't tell me-- The hero of leftist drones everywhere has his credibility in a "dumpster" now that he's telling the truth about Obama (for once)?

F off Hugo. Your bloated carcass is going to be left off the coast of Caracas any day now. Give my best to Dennis Castro and Obama. 
fuck you too asshole... I was actually saying that about woodward during the bush years jackass. Way before I even knew who the fuck Obama was.
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« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2013, 07:21:33 PM »

Woodward is an attention whore trying to stay relevant.  A lot of the stuff he's said over the past 15 years has been called into question and I wouldn't doubt it if he's just making up shit these days.  Bush was a shitty president but I seriously doubt he said some of the things Woodward claimed he said.  Bush isn't a complete moron.  

Wouldn't doubt it if he was found to be another Stephen Glass lol.
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« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2013, 07:25:22 PM »

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/24/sequester-states_n_2755181.html


Obama melting down over the cuts he signed into law! 

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« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2013, 08:29:38 AM »

BOB WOODWARD: Obama Is Showing 'A Kind Of Madness I Haven't Seen In A Long Time'



Brett LoGiurato|Feb. 27, 2013, 9:23 AM|20,519|49



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MNSBC
 
The Washington Post's Bob Woodward ripped into President Barack Obama on "Morning Joe" today, saying he's exhibiting a "kind of madness I haven't seen in a long time" for a decision not to deploy an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf because of budget concerns.
 
"Can you imagine Ronald Reagan sitting there and saying, 'Oh, by the way, I can't do this because of some budget document?'" Woodward said.
 
"Or George W. Bush saying, 'You know, I'm not going to invade Iraq because I can't get the aircraft carriers I need?'" Or even Bill Clinton saying, 'You know, I'm not going to attack Saddam Hussein's intelligence headquarters,' ... because of some budget document?"
 
The Defense Department said in early February that it would not deploy the U.S.S. Harry Truman to the Persian Gulf, citing budget concerns relating to the looming cuts known as the sequester.
 
"Under the Constitution, the President is commander-in-chief and employs the force. And so we now have the President going out because of this piece of paper and this agreement. 'I can’t do what I need to do to protect the country,'" Woodward said.

"That’s a kind of madness that I haven't seen in a long time," he said.
 
Woodward's harsh criticism came after he stirred controversy last weekend by calling out Obama for what he said was "moving the goal posts" on the sequester by requesting that revenue be part of a deal to avert it.
 
Here's the clip, via Mediaite:

http://www.businessinsider.com/bob-woodward-obama-sequester-republicans-2013-2

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« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2013, 10:45:28 AM »

Woodward's credibility is in the dumpster.  I'm not saying he's right or wrong on this for sure, just saying he's one of the very last people I would trust to get opinions or information from these days.

Woodward is telling the truth since the White House press secretary did not reject that they came up with the sequester. Nor have they contended with any of Woodward's claims.

At noon that same day, White House press secretary Jay Carney shifted position and accepted sequester paternity.

“The sequester was something that was discussed,” Carney said. Walking back the earlier statements, he added carefully, “and as has been reported, it was an idea that the White House put forward.”


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« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2013, 10:50:35 AM »

“The sequester was something that was discussed,” Carney said. Walking back the earlier statements, he added carefully, “and as has been reported, it was an idea that the White House put forward.”[/b]

End of discussion.
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« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2013, 10:52:36 AM »

End of discussion.

Boom.
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« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2013, 06:07:49 PM »

BOB WOODWARD: A 'Very Senior' White House Person Warned Me I'd 'Regret' What I'm Doing

Brett LoGiurato|Feb. 27, 2013, 6:53 PM|308,759|326
 

Bob Woodward said this evening on CNN that a "very senior person" at the White House warned him in an email that he would "regret doing this," the same day he has continued to slam President Barack Obama over the looming forced cuts known as the sequester.
 
CNN host Wolf Blitzer said that the network invited a White House official to debate Woodward on-air, but the White House declined.
 
"I think they're confused," Woodward said of the White House's pushback on his reporting.
 
Earlier today on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Woodward ripped into Obama in what has become an ongoing feud between the veteran Washington Post journalist and the White House. Woodward said Obama was showing a "kind of madness I haven't seen in a long time" for a decision not to deploy an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf because of budget concerns.
 
The Defense Department said in early February that it would not deploy the U.S.S. Harry Truman to the Persian Gulf, citing budget concerns relating to the looming cuts known as the sequester.
 
"Can you imagine Ronald Reagan sitting there and saying, 'Oh, by the way, I can't do this because of some budget document?'" Woodward said on MSNBC.
 
"Or George W. Bush saying, 'You know, I'm not going to invade Iraq because I can't get the aircraft carriers I need?'" Or even Bill Clinton saying, 'You know, I'm not going to attack Saddam Hussein's intelligence headquarters,' ... because of some budget document?"
 
Woodward began stirring controversy last weekend, when he called out Obama for what he said was "moving the goal posts" on the sequester by requesting that revenue be part of a deal to avert it.


Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/bob-woodward-obama-sequester-white-house-reporting-price-politics-2013-2#ixzz2M9hhwb38
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