Woodward: This Is Obama's Sequester

He 'personally approved' the plan suggested by his own staffers

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 23, 2013 7:38 AM CST

(Newser) – John Boehner and other Republicans have taken to calling the automatic spending cuts set to take effect in a week as the "president's sequester." It may sound like typical DC blame-shifting, but Republicans happen to be exactly right in this case, writes Bob Woodward in the Washington Post. The idea for the automatic cuts were proposed by then chief of staff Jack Lew and another top aide in 2011 and "personally approved" by Obama himself, writes Woodward. Want specifics? Lew presented it to Harry Reid at 2:30pm July 27 of that year, he adds.

At times over the last year, President Obama and Lew have flat-out said the sequester was Congress' idea, though White House spokesman Jay Carney finally acknowledged "sequester paternity" this week. It matters because "months of White House dissembling" on the issue made relations with congressional Republicans even worse, writes Woodward. He also says the president agreed to no new taxes in the final sequester deal, but now he's "moving the goal posts" by calling for both spending cuts and new revenue. "His call for a balanced approach is reasonable .. but that was not the deal he made," writes Woodward. Click for the full column.

President Obama speaks in Chicago on Feb. 15.
President Obama speaks in Chicago on Feb. 15.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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