President Obama took the stage at a White House event this morning, backed by a crowd of uniformed first responders, to warn against an upcoming round of "automatic brutal spending cuts" that he warned would cost America jobs, harming everything from border patrol to military readiness, education, and emergency response. The middle class, he said, couldn't afford "pain imposed unnecessarily by partisan recklessness and ideological rigidity here in Washington." John Boehner was unimpressed, Politico notes, questioning "what spending is the president willing to cut" to spare first responders.
Obama said Democrats had put forward a balanced proposal to avoid the cuts, but "so far at least the ideas that the Republicans have proposed ask nothing of the wealthiest Americans or the biggest corporations," leaving the burden on the middle class, and refusing to remove even one tax loophole. Obama said that wouldn't fly, adding, "I will not sign a plan that harms the middle class." But he said he'd work with anyone to avoid the cuts. "We've got more to do around here … than try to dig ourselves out of self-inflicted wounds." He even suggested a temporary fix "not to kick the can down the road, but to give them time to work together." The Guardian's snarky comment: "Read: to kick the can down the road." (Read more sequester stories.)