President Obama today said he “not a dictator” and cannot hold congressional leaders in town to try to strike a deal on the sequester.
Obama spoke at an unannounced press conference in the White House briefing, where he sought to portray frustration after a White House meeting this morning with Congressional leaders from both Parties failed to result in a deal on the sequester, which begins at Midnight tonight.
House Speaker John Boehner said after the session that Republicans aren’t budging from their insistence that a deal to avert the sequester not raise taxes.
But Obama made clear that the White House strategy is to allow the cuts to begin to take place and hope that the pain they cause eventually forces Republicans to cry uncle.
My hope is that after some reflection, after members of Congress start hearing from constituents who are being negatively impacted, as we start seeing the impact that the sequester is having, that they step back and say, “All right, is there a way for us to move forward on a package of entitlement reforms, tax reform, not raising tax rates, identifying programs that don’t work, coming up with a plan that’s comprehensive and that makes sense.” And it may take a couple of weeks, it may take months.
The president made clear he will use the sequester to blame the GOP and the sequester for the lousy state of the economy, having them stand in for his old, outdated whipping horse, George W. Bush.
“Every time that we get a piece of economic news over the next month, six months . . . we’ll know that news could have been better, he said
Obama also walked back some of the crisis he has sought to apply to sequester. It’s not gong to be an apocalypse, as some people have said,” he said “It’s just dumb.” Some believe it was Obama who did the most to portray the sequester as apocalyptic.
Meanwhile, Obama, who less than a year ago was “evolving” on the issue of gay marriage, today fervently defended his decision to join a Supreme Court case that could overturn a California law barring same-sex marriage. “We cannot discriminate against same-sex couple when it comes to marriage,” Obama asserted.