Obama fails Bob Woodward’s fact check on sequestration

Bob Woodward, who wrote a book about the sequestration, blows the whistle on President Obama’s claim during last night’s debate that the idea of using deep, automatic, across-the-board domestic and defense spending cuts to force Congress to address the nation’s burgeoning federal deficit originated in Congress, not in the White House. “What the president said is not correct,” Woodward told Politico.

In his book, The Price of Politics, Woodward reported that White House Office of Management Director Jack Lew and Legislative Affairs Director Rob Nabors took the proposal for sequestration to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and then it was presented to congressional Republicans. Following Monday’s debate, Woodward stood behind his reporting which, he said, drew upon sources involved in last year’s deficit talks and is supported by detailed notes.

Obama’s statement about sequestration cannot be squared with Woodward’s account. Here is what the president claimed:

First of all, the sequester is not something that I’ve proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed.

But Woodward is clear that the Obama administration proposed the sequester to Congress.

Moreover, the White House backed away from Obama’s claim to the contrary. Here is how Jay Carney tried to spin Obama’s debate deception:

What the president said last night was a reiteration of what his position has long been. The sequester that was designed and passed by Congress was never meant to become policy, it was never meant to be implemented.

Note that Carney won’t say that Obama did not “propose” the sequestration, only that it was “designed” by Congress (whatever that means) and that Congress passed it, which is undisputed but irrelevant to Obama’s debate claim.

By the way, Team Obama also backed down from the president’s promise that the sequestration “will not happen.” Senior adviser David Plouffe modified his boss’s remarks by saying that “everyone in Washington agrees that sequester should not happen.”

But by law, it will happen unless a balanced budget deal can be reached. And Obama has pledged to veto any deal that does not raise taxes on the “top two percent.” This vow cannot be reconciled with a pledge that sequestration won’t happen. For congressional Republicans may well be unwilling to enter into a deal that raises taxes on anyone.

Last night, we saw a desperate president play fast and loose with the facts (the sequester issue is only one example), while making promises that are either beyond his power to keep or inconsistent with his earlier promises. The MSM would rather not notice. But when Bob Woodward blows the whistle, it becomes difficult for the MSM to avert its eyes.

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